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* Miss Jay's nouvelle, which has some strong and stirring 
qualities, seems to show that in some parts at least of Ireland the 
people are now just as much their own enemies in the face of all 
attempts at impro\'ing their condition as they were in the days 
when Miss Edgeworth wrote her fascinating slory Efmui. Miss 
Jay's story is, however, of a far darker cast than the one just 
referred to. As to the prevalence of the state of mind, or no 
mind, and its terrible results, which she depicts with an incisive 
pen, there can, unhappily, be no doubt, and the author writes 
with an air of knowledge and experience which makes it diffi- 
cult to cast doubt upon her explanation of things which are 
suggestive enough in cut-and-dried newspaper reports, but of 
which her treatment may impress some people whose attention 
would otherwise be unmoved. It is not to be thought that Miss 
Jay would have us believe that all Roman Catholic priests re- 
semble the infamous, yet genial and popular. Father Malloy of 
her stor>' ; but there is too much reason to suppose that he is 
not inaccurately drawn from a type which is not exceptional. 
The grim and tragic tone of the little book is artfully relieved 
wherever it is possible ; and we can say for ourselves that we 
have read its three hundred pages with unfailing interest.' — 
Saturday Review. 

* " The Priest's Blessing " is the title of an Irish story, in one 
volume, from the pen of the accomplished young lady whose 
-•'Queen of Connaught " and "Dark Colleen " have placed her 
in the front rank of all the writers who have attempted to de- 
lineate the contemporar}' life of Ireland, Her new tale, pub- 
lished by F. V. White k Co., of London, is dedicated to Mr 
Forster in warmly eulogistic words, and the motive of the book 
is intimately associated with the weary problem which that 
statesman has been doing his best to solve. It exhibits, with 
mar\-ellous power, one of the chief sources of the Irish difficulty. 
This is the unscrupulous character of the priesthood, and their 
determination to retain the control of the people in their own 
hands. The portraits of the two priests who figure in Miss Jay's 
narrative are drawn with a vivid force which could not possibly 
be surpassed ; and the same may be said of the pathetic sketch 
of the hapless peasant, Patrick O'Connor, who is brought to 

VOL. m. a 


the gallows by their villainous machination. The incidents are 
evolved with great dramatic skill and vigour ; and, as a revela- 
tion of the actual condition of Ireland, it is worth a cartload of 
the political pamphlets and speeches on that subject with which 
we have been so liberally supplied of late.' — North British Mail. 
'Miss Jay's new, short, and powerful story. Poor Patrick 
O'Connor, whose pilgrimage from the cradle to the grave, 
blessed at both ends by the priest, is a powerfully drawn cha- 
racter that will survive when "study" and " purpose" are for- 
gotten. ' — Academy. 

' The authoress of the " Queen of Connaught " has produced 
a singular tale of Irish life, intended to illustrate the life of the 
Irish peasant from the cradle to the grave. . . . The various 
incidents in the career of the Irish peasant are told with much 
pathos and power, and the volume will serve to give a good 
idea of the state of the impoverished people, and the tempta- 
tions they are subjected to, through agitators on the one hand, 
and poverty on the other.' — Era. 

' This is the secret history of a case of landlord-murder, in the 
West of Ireland. In telling it, Miss Jay has, with finished art, 
avoided every appearance of literaiy colouring, and has de- 
pended for effect upon an almost excessive simplicity. We are 
compelled to read it as uncritically as a private letter, and do 
not conspicuously realise its full power and pathos until we can 
look back upon it as a whole, and then every well-remembered 
stroke tells. Not all Miss Jay's readers Mali agree with her, 
that Irish troubles are due to no deeper cause than priestly in- 
fluence, or indeed that such influence is anywhere near the root 
of the matter ; and she makes the usual mistake of supposing that 
an Irish landlord is necessarily incapable of comprehending, at 
least as well as a novelist, the natures of the people with whom he 
has to deal. But, if this were so, landlords would learn much from 
the life progress of Pat O'Connor, of Patrickstown — how, from 
being a mere harmless victim of a large family and potato disease, 
he came to die on the gallows, a martyr to a blind sense of religion 
and honovir. No word of conventional sentiment mars the effect 
of this powerful study of the heart and mind of a savage of our own 
time and nation, with his capacities for unconscious heroism 
under circumstances which would seem to make anything in 
such a shape impossible. We are not cheated into taking strong 
and bitter stuff in the formalities of a love story. Plot and style 
are strong and bitter enough — as much so as any story must be 
that deals with the extreme conditions of Irish peasant life as 
they are. Pat O'Connor himself represents a type which she 
obviously and thoroughly understands, and which all who are 
interested in the Ireland of to-day and to-morrow ought to 
understand. The novel is certain to attract exceptional at- 
tention.' — Graphic. 







{All Rights reserved.'] 

F. V. WHITE & CO.'S 

Crown Zvo, cloth^ 3^'. dd. each. 

The following Volumes of the Series are now ready ;— 
MY SISTER THE ACTRESS. By Florence Marryat. 

' " My Sister the Actress " is the best novel we have had the pleasure of 
reading from the pen of Miss Marryat.' — yo/m Bull. 

THE DEAN'S WIFE. By Mrs Eiloart. 

' Any reader who wants a good story thoroughly well told cannot do better 
than read " The Dean's Wife." '—John Bull. 

A BROKEN BLOSSOM. By Florence Marryat. 

' A really charming story, full of delicate pathos and quiet humour ; 
pleasant to read and pleasant to remember.'— J^A;^ Bull. 

TWO MEN AND A MAID. By Harriett Jay. 

' Compared with the former works of the authoress of " The Queen of 
Connaught," this novel must be pronounced second to none.' — Graphic. 


' The story from first to last is attractive, and cannot fail to command 
wide favour. ' — Whitehall Review. 

PHYLLIDA. By Florence Marryat. 

' " Phyllida" is a novel of which the author may be justly proud.'— 
Morning Post. 

BARBARA'S WARNING. By the Author of * Recom- 
mended to Mercy.' 




USHiV, but this is a bad way 
we're in, yer^ honor," said 
Shawn, as he wiped the rain 
from his blinded eyes, and tried in vain 
to penetrate the darkness which lay like a 
cloud around us. 

I shivered as he spoke, and silently 
acknowledged the truth of his words. 
We were in a bad way indeed. 
For several hours that evenin^c we had 
lain damp and chilly on the banks of a 


2 My Comiaught Cousins. 

lonely lake, waiting for the wild geese ; 
having secured several victims, we gathered 
up our belongings, and prepared for a walk 
over several miles of dreary bogland to- 
wards home. But we had scarcely covered 
a mile of the ground, and were in the most 
desolate part of the mountain, when the 
darkness, which for some time had been 
gradually coming on, fell like a pall around 
us ; a bitter wind swept lightly over the 
moor, and rain began to fall. Still we 
wandered on ; at length Shawn paused, 
declared, with a tone of shame in his 
voice, that he had lost his way, and 
asked what was to be done. 

What could be done ? 

We were surrounded by black darkness, 
fully seven miles from home. We had lost 
our way, and had no means of regaining it. 
It seemed to me that the only feasible 
plan was to remain where we were till dawn. 

We had just come to this despairing 
decision, and were about to make the 

My Comiaiight Cousins. 3 

most of our boggy bed, when there was 
borne to us out of the darkness, on the 
breath of the wind, the faint echo of a 
human voice. Never before had a voice 
sounded to me so pleasant. Darting for- 
ward, I was about to hail the stranger, 
when the more prudent Shawn held me back. 

" Don't spake, yer honor," said he ; " 'tis 
that thief o' the world Mick Maloney, and 
if he hears your voice he'll surely take us 
for the peelers." 

So we kept perfectly still, while the 
unconscious stranger approached. 

As he drew near we heard that he was 
singing softly ; next we distinguished the 
words of the song. 

" Send it gaily round, 

Life would be no pleasure, 
If we had not found 

This enchanting treasure. 
And, when tyrant death's 

Arrow shall transfix ye, 
Let your latest breaths 

Be whisky, whisky, whisky.** 

4 My Co7tnaught Cousins. 

'*Wid all the pleasure in tlie world," 
said Shawn, bringing the song to an end, 
the singer to a standstill. " And now, 
Mick Maloney," he continued, " thank the 
good God above that we're not the peelers, 
but only two poor cratures that's lost our 

" What, Shawn ! " came in stentorian 
tones from the darkness. 

*' Yes, in troth, it's Shawn, and the young 
raashter along wid him, and both just as 
wet as can be. We're seeldn' a night's 
lodging, Mick Maloney, for we can't get 
home, and the bog's but a wet bed at the 
best o' times, and no way fit for the likes 
o' us." 

Who Mick Maloney might be I had not 
at that time the most remote idea. I only 
felt that he came like an angel of good- 
ness that night, for, after a short whis- 
pered conversation with Shawn, he agreed 
to lead us to a haven of rest. So we 
gathered up our traps again, with a much 

My Connaught Cousins. 5 

lighter heart than we had laid them down, 
and followed the footsteps of our guide. 

How far we really went, I never could 
discover, but at the time the distance 
seemed to me interminable. The night 
was so dark that I could not see one 
foot before me, and I stepped recklessly 
on, tumbling in and out of bogholes, while 
the wind blew clammily on my cheek, and 
the rain fell, soaking my garments through. 
At length our guide paused, and I saw that 
we stood before the closed door of a mud 
cabin. The hut looked black and desolate 
as the scene surrounding it, and I thought 
at first that it was quite deserted, but 
on Mick Maloney applying his knuckles to 
the door, and giving three peculiar taps 
a faint whistle came through the keyhole ; 
then, with the words, "all right," spoken 
in Irish, the door Hew open, 1 was hurriedly 
hustled in, and it closed again. 

The transfer from black darkness to 
bricrht liorht was so sudden that for a 

o o 

6 My Connaught Cousins. 

moment my eyes were blinded, and I 
could see nothing, but I heard around 
me a hissing of steam and a splashing 
of water, which told me where I was. 

Our oruide had led us to a still-house. 

Yes : when at length I removed my 
hand from my blinded eyes, I saw that 
my supposition was correct. There, a 
yard or two from my very feet, stood 
two illicit stills in the height of distill- 
ation ; some half - dozen stalwart fellows 
were working them, while a couple of 
young girls, an old woman, and a man 
were filling stone jars with potheen. The 
sight of this labour was anything but 
pleasant to me. 1 knew that if, by any 
stroke of ill luck, the police should happen 
to pass by that house that night, come 
in when the work was proceeding, and 
find me coolly looking on, I should be 
summoned before the magistrate, and or- 
dered to pay a heavy fine. Yet what 
was I to do ? Stay in the warmth and 

Aly Connatcgkt Cousiiis, 7 

shelter, or return to the cold, wet, desolate 
bog ? I decided to adopt the former plan, 
so having thrown off my dripping overcoat, 
and taken a good di^ink of the w^hisky 
which was so liberally bestowed upon me, 
I lit my cigar, and taking a seat beside 
the fire, looked leisurely at what was going 
on. Shawn thrcw^ down a little straw for 
the dogs, put my gun in a place of safety, 
hung up the birds, and then went over 
to the boys to give them a hand with 
their work. 

Fully an hour passed thus : — both the 
stills were empty, and the last jar was 
being corked, when we were suddenly 
startled by a peculiar scraping and whin- 
ing at the door. Shawn flew to open it ; 
as he did so, a dog crept in. 

" Patrick," cried one of the girls, 
addressing the drenched animal, "is it 
the peelers, dear ? " 

The poor brute set up a yell as if in 
answer, and seizing one of the stills with 

8 My Connaught Cousins. 

his teeth, tried hard to pull it along the 

" It's the peelers sure enough," said 
Shawn, and I felt an electric thrill run 
through me. 

Immediately the scene became one of 
wild confusion, and I found myself in the 
midst of the melee, but before I had time 
to think in what way I could be of ser- 
vice, the whole of the work w^as done. The 
stills were lifted bodily from the ground 
and taken out of the house, and the 
stone jars quickly followed. In less than 
five minutes all was cleared away, the 
dripping dog which had caused all the 
commotion w^as in the corner making 
overtures of friendship to my surly re- 
trievers ; tw^o of the boys were examining 
my birds, the girls were washing the 
potatoes for supper, and the rest of the 
company were seated around the fire lis- 
tening attentively to Shawn's account of 
our adventures that night. 

My Coii7tatight Cottsins. 9 

Presently a loud knock came to the door. 

" Who's there ? " cried Mick Maloney. 

" Open the door," came from without ; 
"make haste, ye spalpeen, ye. If ye dare 
to remove one of the stills I see at work — " 

The door flew open, and the strangers 
rushed in. Four men dressed in plain 
clothes, but looking as little like Irish 
peasants, whom they were intended to 
represent, as men could well do. 

" Good night, sergeant," said Mick 
Maloney quietly, " if you've come all 
the way from the barrack to-night to see 
a shtill at work, I'm sorry for you ! " 

The scrsceant made no answer, but he 
looked keenly around. 

The room in which he stood was the 
only one which the hut contained. A large 
kitchen, with a mud floor, black bare rafters 
and loose stone walls, through the wide 
crevices of which the wind crept. Over 
a great turf fire, which burnt on the floor, 
the pot of potatoes swung, supported by 

lO My Co7maughi Cousins, 

a black iron chain which was fixed in the 
rafters, while around the fire, sitting cross- 
legged on the floor, was the family. They 
moved closer together and made room for 
the unwelcome intruders. The three police- 
men sidled up to the fire and unbuttoned 
their coats, revealing as thy did so the 
revolvers which were fastened in their 
belts, and the swords which hung from 
their sides. The sergeant, wdio had drawn 
his revolver, still stood aloof. 

*' Now, Mick Maloney," he said, " you've 
been lying to me and deceiving me for 
several years, and I don't mean to believe 
you any more. Don't I know, without 
your telling me, that you make enough 
potheen here every year to supply the 
whole of Connaught ? Yes, and I know, 
as w^ell as you do, that you were making 
it here to-night." 

*' Were we in troth?" said the young 
fellow innocently ; ' ' then why didn't you 
find us wid the shtills ? " 

My Co7inaiight Coiishis. i r 

" That's exactly what I can t make out," 
confessed the puzzled sergeant. " When I 
got the information that you were at 
work to-night, I thought I'd nail ye, 
for the night's so dark ye can t see a 
hand before ye, and if I had caught ye/ 
he continued, putting the revolver into 
his belt again, " I'd have clapped every 
mother's son of ye into gaol, and made 
ye suffer for the runs you've given to 

The boys laughed ; the sergeant, judging 
from the confident faces of one and all 
that no stills were within reach that 
night, stood for five minutes warming 
himself by the fire, then with his 
men he departed. 

All that night I remained in the hut, 
but when the first gleam of dawn apjDcared 
I prepared to go. The fate of the stills 
was a mystery to me ; I questioned Mick 
Maloney, and after a little hesitation he 
pointed to a strip of brow^n bog which 

12 My Co7tnaught Cotisms. 

lay to the right of the dwelling, and 

" There they are, yer honor ! " 

" Where ? " 

" Sunk in the bog there, and the whisky 
alonof wid them." 

" There ? — why the police might walk 
over that spot at any moment and discover 
all ! " 

" So they might, indeed, but then they 
don't, and we've hid them there these six 
years. And if they did find them they 
couldn't punish us, for sure they're not in 
any house, and the Lord knows who put 
them there ! " 

He walked ov^er the bog, drew up one 
of the stone jars, and presented it to me, 
and as I shook hands all round and wished 
the family '* good-bye," they all expressed 
a regret that with last night's work the 
distillinoj for that season was over — but 
hoped, plase God, I might come next year, 
and see a good drop made ! " 

My Connaitght Cousins, 13 

But with that year's work the Maloneys 
ceased their labour of illicit distilling. 
A few months after my midnight adven- 
ture, the faithful animal which had been 
their sole protector from the police, was 
found poisoned on the hills. Whether or 
not the police had at length discovered the 
use to which the dog was put, and so 
determined to destroy it, no one could tell ; 
at all events the Maloneys deemed it a 
fitting time to give up their dangerous 
work ; — after they had committed the body 
of their favourite to the earth, they sold 
the stills and never again made a drop 
of potheen ! 



OW, yer honor, jist lie quiet 
and aisy ; keep the gun on 
full - cock and all ready, but 
never shtir a limb till I give the curlew's 
cry, and then look out, for the birds will 
be jist within shot of ye." 

So spoke Shawn, as he laid the last 
bunch of heather on my quivering body, 
and having satisfied himself that I was 
perfectly well concealed from human 
sight, he prepared to creep off to the 
spot where he had seen the wild geese 
alight, in order to drive the unconscious 
victims directly over my head. I nodded 
as he gave his instructions, and ere he 
crept away, promised implicitly to obey 

My Connaiight Cousins. i 5 

his commands. But I felt anything but 
comfortable in my novel position. My 
bed was the bare bog-land, oozy and soft 
with the soaking of the heavy winter 
rains ; my covering the half - w^ithered 
heather which Shawn had uprooted from 
the hillside. The prospect all around 
me was black and desolate as the sky 
which loomed above, but the bitter wind 
came creeping over the hill, and froze 
my face and hands. I lay patiently for 
some time, the sportsman - like ardour in 
my heart preventing the wind from utterly 
freezing my limbs, but at length my 
patience got exhausted, and I began to stir. 
Suddenly I heard the faint whistle of the 
curlew, — a minute after I saw a flock 
of wild geese pass almost directly over 
my head. I fired wildly, and missed ! 

Then I found that my garments were 
completely soaked with bog-water, and 
that my limbs had sunk several inches 
deep in the oozy ground ; nay, more. 

1 6 My Connaught Cousins. 

that tliey were only prevented from sink- 
ing farther by some obstruction which 
was so hard and cold that it made my 
bones ache. My first oare was to exhume 
my half-buried limbs, my next to unearth 
the substance which had prevented me 
from sinking utterly. This latter proved 
to be no easy matter, but with the help 
of the spade which Shawn had brought 
with him to prepare my boggy bed, I 
at length succeeded in clearing away a 
good deal of earth and discovering that 
my life-preserver was a deal box, some 
five feet long, stained almost black wnth 
bog-w^ater, and fastened down with half- 
a-dozen rusty nails. 

I had heard, during my childhood days, 
of fortunate people being enriched by 
the discovery of buried treasures, but, I 
need hardly add, all such romantic ideas 
had long since vanished from my mind ; 
and yet, as I gazed at that peculiar-look- 
ing box, I felt as if a cold spell had 

My Connaught Cousins. ij 

passed over me, and a succession of the 
wildest thoughts surged through my brain. 
Exhume and open it I must, and the 
wish became stronger within me when 
Shawn, who soon returned from his goose- 
driving, did his best to dissuade me from 
such a proceeding. 

*' Sure, 'tis no aflfair of ours, yer honor," 
said Shawn, looking at the same time so 
profoundly uncomfortable as to cause my 
curiosity to increase. "Maybe its a little 
potheen that the boys have buried — " 

But I cut him short, and insisted that 
he should help to exhume and open the 
box. Seeing I was determined, he at 
length set to w^ork, but he was so slow, 
and evidently so unwilling, that at length 
my patience got exhausted. I took the 
spade from his hand, inserted it in the 
crevice upon which Shawn had been work- 
ing, and with one powerful wrench forced 
the lid. We both recoiled in horror — the 
box contained a corpse ! After the first 


1 8 My Connaught Cousins. 

shock of the discovery was over, I looked 
again, and my dismay increased tenfold. 

" Why, Shawn," I exclaimed, *' if it 

**Yes, in troth!" broke in Shawn, "sure 
enough, it is," — and we both stared into 
the box again. 

In order to explain the strange circum- 
stance which enabled me to recognise this 
corpse, I must chronicle events which took 
place several weeks before I exhumed it. 

On the fifteenth day of November, the 
annual fair was held at Gulranny. The 
anticipation of this day usually created a 
good deal of excitement in the minds of 
the peasants in and around Storport — for 
it was always constituted a sort of gala 
time ; but the announcement of the fair 
of 18 — brought with it whisperings of 
woe to many a home. The crops had been 
bad that year, and the miserable half- 
starved tenants had been unable to scrape 

My Connaught Cousins. 19 

together enough money to pay the rent, 
so the procter had summoned them to 
attend the sessions of Gulranny, in order 
that they might show cause why they 
should not deliver up the whole of their 
worldly goods. On the eventful day, 
which was ushered in with hurricanes of 
blinding sleet, I ordered Shawn to bring 
out the horse and car, that we mi^ht 
drive into Gulranny together. By the 
time we started the hail had ceased to 
fall, but still the wind blew bitterly, freez- 
ing with its icy breath the little pools on 
the wayside, and when we drove into 
Gulranny I felt almost as if my blood 
was frozen. It was midday by that time, 
and, save for one or two decrepit old men 
whom w^e had passed on the road, we 
were the last to arrive. What a gather- 
inor there was ! The streets of the little 


town were so crowded that it was almost 
impossible to make one's way along. In 
the market-place bevies of rosy - cheeked 

20 My Connaught Cousins, 

servant girls stood waiting to be hired, 
pigs grunted and squealed as the drovers 
whipped them along, the shopkeepers 
stood at their doors shrieking to the 
passengers to buy ; Mr 'Neil's agent 
sat in a cosy parlour of the inn, com- 
fortably enjoying his glass of wine, gazing 
with a smile into the wild, woebegone 
faces of the creatures whom he had sum- 
moned thither, and determinedly shaking 
his head at every heart-broken appeal. 

" Don't come to me," he said ; " I'm 
done with ye, a lot of lazy spendthrifts 
as ye are. Ye'll go before them to-day 
as '11 "make ye pay." 

I sat in a remote corner of the room 
and quietly watched the wretched crea- 
tures who crowded around the man, their 
wild eyes, their famished faces, their 
trembling bodies clad in the dirty rags 
which were their sole protection from 
cold, and as I glanced from them to the 
frozen window-panes and the sleet which 

My Connaught Cousins, 2 1 

fell, covering with a thin crystal sheet the 
kerbstones of the street, my heart turned 

" Poor, miserable, half-starved wretches ! " 
I thought, " most of you will have sore 
hearts to-night, for you will lose your 
little all ; God help you ! for there will 
be nothing but starvation left." 

Heartsick at the sight of so much sorrow, 
which I was utterly powerless to relieve, 
I arose and was about to leave the room 
when my eye was suddenly arrested by 
a figure, ragged, wild, and woebegone, 
which stood close up by the window. 
Five minutes before, I had seen this man 
crouch like a stricken beast before the 
agent, his skeletonian hands outstretched, 
his parched lips suing for mercy. 

" For the love of God, Toney Monaghan, 
niver be hard on a poor boy," he had 
said ; "all my potatoes had the black 
disease this year, and they rotted in the 
ground. My pig took the sickness, and 

2 2 My Connatight Cousins. 

died. I have two little children down 
wid a fever, and if you take away my 
cow I'll have no drop of milk to give 
them, and they'll die." 

This appeal, heart-breaking as it was, 
had met with the usual repulse. 

" Don't bring yer lies to me. You'll 
go before them as '11 make ye pay ! " 

As the man crept back into the shadow, 
I noticed that the piteous look of appeal 
had left his face ; his features were 
strangely convulsed, his wild eyes gleamed, 
and his hand clenched and unclenched in 
nervous dread. 

" That man means mischief," I said as 
I passed out into the street. 

At two o'clock the tenants' cases were 
to be called on ; and as the hands of the 
clock approached that hour I made my 
way through the crowded streets in the 
direction of the court. I noticed, to my 
wonder, that the streets through which I 
passed were almost deserted ; presently a 

J/y Connaitght Cousins. 23 

succession of moans and cries struck upon 
my ear, then I saw that people were 
running excitedly, and, following the direc- 
tion which they took, I at length found 
myself on the outskirts of a great crowd 
which was collected in the principal street 
before the open door of the court. Seeing 
Shawn amongst the throng, I questioned 
him as to the cause of the excitement, 
for I noticed that many of the people 
were wrino-ing; their hands, others moaned 
feebly, while others glared around them 
with wild eyes and then seemed to utter 
sighs of relief. Instead of replying to 
my question, Shawn took me by the 
shoulders, and gently propelled me into 
the middle of the throngr. There I saw 
the cause of the disturbance. Lving; on 
the kerbstone, his head supported in the 
arms of a policeman, his face exposed to 
the wondering gaze of hundreds of eyes, 
was the agent, stone dead. His body was 
surrounded by policemen, warders of the 

24 My Connaught Cousins. 

court — nay, at the cry of murder, the very 
judge upon the bench had stopped the 
course of justice, and come forth. 

" Good God ! " I exclaimed, recoiling 
upon Shawn ; " how did this happen ? " 

"He was jist walkin' along the street, 
yer honor," said Shawn quietly, ''when 
he fell, and laid his head down and 

" Murdered ? " 

" Oh, God forbid ! yer honor ; what for 
should he be murdered at all, at all ? " 

Nevertheless, I felt convinced that my 
supposition was right ; nay more, I believed 
that I could point out the very man who 
had done this deed. 

That a murder had actually been com- 
mitted could not be proved on the spot, 
but the manner of the man's death was 
so peculiar as to call for a coroner's 
inquiry, and a post-mortem examination. 
The body, therefore, was at once removed 

My Connatight Cotisins. 25 

to the inn, and several hours after its 
removal the two principal doctors of the 
town were on their way armed with the 
implements necessary for their work. On 
their arrival at the inn, a novel scene 
awaited them. The people, having at 
length solved the meaning of the awful 
words, "post-mortem examination," had 
risen up in arms, and declared that no 
such desecration of the dead should be 
allowed. Before Toney Monnaghan became 
a land-agent, he had been one of them- 
selves, and though he had been a little 
hard upon them of late, there wasn't a 
man among them but would raise his voice 
against having the poor boy's body cut up 
"like a beast's." The consequence was — a 
riot. The police were overpowered, the 
doctors sent packing, the inn taken by 
storm. For two nights the body lay in 
state, being waked by its wild comrades. 
At the end of that time, the authorities, 
only too eager to bring matters to a peaceful 

26 My Connaught Coiisins. 

issue, allowed it to be quietly buried. As 
the grave closed above it, popular excite- 
ment seemed to die away. 

But if the people were satisfied, the 
authorities were not. Everybody believed 
that a murder had been committed, and 
that the subsequent riot was only an effort 
to prevent the discovery of the murderer. 
No sooner, therefore, was the unfortunate 
man buried, than the doctors received an 
order authorising them to exhume the body 
and make their examination in secret. One 
night, two nights after the funeral, they set 
out on their mission with hopeful hearts. 
Making straight for the graveyard, they 
employed themselves in opening up the 
grave. For several hours they worked with 
pickaxe and spade ; at last they came 
upon the coffin, raised it up, and opened 
the lid- 
It was empty ! 

At this piece of audacity on the part 
of some persons unknown, everybody was 

My Connattght Cousins. 2 J 

more amazed than ever, and again came the 
conviction, stronger than before, that murder 
had been done. But try as they would, 
they could discover nothing. The whole 
country was thrown into a tumult, and 
popular excitement was at its height, when 
I unwittingly solved the terrible secret by 
finding the body in the bog. 

Having sworn Shaw^n to secrecy, I 
assisted him to re-inter the box, and forth- 
with sent word of the discovery to the 
magistrate. The box was at once removed, 
the post-mortem examination concluded, 
and the discovery made that the unfor- 
tunate man had died of heart disease. 
Again everybody was amazed, and this time 
the wonder was mixed with shame. After 
the examination was made, the coroner's 
inquiry was hurried over, and ouce more, 
in solemn pomp, and with all the rites 
of the church, the agent was laid in his 
grave. Amidst the solemn concourse which 

28 My Connaught Cousins. 

attended this second funeral, I noticed the 
wild wan face which had haunted me ever 
since that day when I had seen it by the 
frozen window of the inn — the face of the 
very man whom in my own mind I had 
accused of murder ! For a moment I hung 
back ashamed ; then I boldly walked 
forward and pressed a bank-note into the 
wretched creature's hand. He looked from 
it to me in dazed amazement, then the 
sio-ht of one of his rags^ed children seemed 
to make him realise what the money would 
do. He clutched it closer, and with one 
last look down the open grave, crept away 
towards his home. 

By whose hand the corpse was con- 
veyed from the churchyard to the bog 
was never discovered. It was generally 
believed, however, that news of the in- 
tended examination had been whispered 
abroad, and that the agent was exhumed 
and hidden solely with a view to prevent- 
ing his body being " cut up." 


DIE passes quickly in Connaught, 
or at least so it seemed to me ; 
for never had I known summer 
months roll so rapidly away. Yet they 
were gone, and what was worse, the 
autumn months had gone to join them, 
and I, still lingering on in Storport, saw 
that winter was slowly but most surely 

commg on. 

As the seasons changed, the aspect of 
the village changed too. The mighty 
Atlantic, which during the lazy summer 
days had lain like a tawny lion, calm, 
majestic, gazing with gentle eyes upon 
the earth, now bestirred itself, lifted up 

30 My Connaught Cousins. 

its mighty voice, and roared as if in answer 
to the roaring of the wind. Days of tem- 
pest came, during which time I found my- 
self pretty frequently in Oona's study, and 
always by her side w^hen we sat round the 
fire at night, and told stories, or listened 
to the wailing of the wind. Sometimes 
when the wind w^as loudest and we felt 
the Lodge swaying in its violent grasp, 
I drew a bit nearer to my cousin and took 
her hand, and she did not draw it away. 
Nay, once or twice I fancied that the 
slender fingers closed over mine, then 
becoming suddenly conscious of w^hat she 
had done Oona would blush and laugh, 
and tell us some story of folk lore which 
had been told to her by one or other of 
the village cauliaghs when she was cpite a 
little child. 

It was during one of these evenings, 
when the wind w^as shrieking round the 
house and hailstones were rattling on the 
pane, that Oona, gazing round upon her 

My Connaught Cousins. 31 

sisters, reminded them of tlieir suggestion 
that each one should provide me with 
entertainment for a day. 

" He has only had three days as yet," 
said Oona ; " Nora's, Biddy's, and mine." 

" And mine," interrupted Aileen. " I 
didn't tell him a story, but then neither 
did Biddy, but I certainly entertained him 
for a day, for I took him over to Glenamoy, 
gave him some of the best flies I ever tied 
in my life, and put him in the way of 
catching; three salmon. I think that ouofht 
to be counted ! " 

" So it ought. Alley, and so it shall," I 
said ; ''I never enjoyed a day more in my 

" Very well," said Oona, " if Jack is 
satisfied we ought to be, but that only 
makes four ; there's Kate and Amy still. 
Kate, what do you mean to do ? " 

But before Kate could reply. Amy who 
as usual had been rolling on the hearth 
with the dogs all round her, scrambled 

32 My Connaught Cousins, 

to her knees, pushed back the clogs, and 
exclaimed, — 

" I know what / should like to do. I 
should like to tell a story ! Cousin Jack, 
if I tell you a story to-night will you call 
it my day ? " 

" I will ! " I said, and all the girls 

But Amy, grave as a judge, settled 
herself upon the hearth and told us the 
story of how Andy Beg became a Fairy. 

She told it in very childish fashion, 
which I have had to alter slightly to suit 
the requirements of print. 


" Did you ever get sight of it yerself, 
Cuileagh, when you were passing Ehuna 
Hanish on a Christmas night like this, 
on your way to the chapel to hear the 
midnight mass ? " 

" Get si^ht of it ! Troth, then, I never 

My Connaught Cousins. 33 

did ; and 'tis aisy seeing that same, for 
sure, then, if I had got sight of it, 'tis 
not here I'd been sitting now, but I'd be 
lying in my grave as dead as — as — as — " 
and finding himself unable to discover a 
simile, the speaker bent over the fire, 
squeezed some burning ashes into his pipe- 
bowl, and began puffing vigorously. 

He was a short, thick-set man, with 
little prepossessing in his appearance. His 
face was, at first sight, hard and most 
repelling ; and this, his neighbours said, 
was the true index to his character. 
Cuileagh Clanmorris was a most unpopular 
man in Storport. Instead of mixing with 
his fellows and showing his face at fairs 
and weddings and wakes, he worked like 
any beast of burden all the year ; and on 
Sundays and feast days, and at Christmas 
tide, when he had a few hours to spare, 
instead of enjoying his leisure as a mortal 
should, he merely stepped into his neigh- 
bour Dunloe's, and smoked his pipe in the 
VOL. III. c 

34 My Connaught Cousins. 

ingle, and told weird stories and fairy- 
legends to that child, which, as the popu- 
lation would have it, was no human child, 
" but only a bit of a fairy itself." 

And, in truth, there was something about 
little Andy, or, as he was called in Irish, 
Andy Beg, which was extremely fairy-like 
and weird, a strange, old-fashioned wonder 
and wisdom which had convinced the 
peasantry, and some of the child's relatives 
too, that he was no ordinary being. His 
mother was the widow Dunloe, who had 
lived all her life in Storport ; and who 
since that night when Manus Dunloe had 
lost his life off the Ehuna Hanish, had 
dwelt in the little cabin on the beach, with 
only her father and Andy. 

Andy was six years old, yet he had 
none of a child's ways, and no desire for 
childish companionship. The being for 
whom he cared most was his grandfather, 
an old man of ninety years, who habitu- 
ally sat in the ingle, with his grey head 

My Connaught Cousins. 35 

bowed, and his bony hands clasped upon 
his knees, in a state of mental torpor, from 
which it seemed at times an earthquake 
could not have roused him, but who, at 
the slightest sound of Andy's voice, stirred 
and lived, his dull, heavy, lustreless eyes 
gleaming with a ray of human light. 
From the very first these two had been 
drawn together by a strange fascination. 
Ever since the day when he first began 
to walk with some steadiness across the 
floor, Andy had taken his stand between 
his grandfather's knees, had prattled to 
him in that strange, old-fashioned way 
of his ; had attended to him assiduously 
in all his wants, until, as time went on, 
the child's life seemed to get interwoven, 
as it were, with that of the old man ; 
and at length, to the wonder of all, it 
was discovered that he, who during his 
life had been singularly hard, callous, and 
cruel, had got all his affections aroused by 
this quaint little companion of his old age. 

36 My Connaught Cousins, 

He was very old-fashioned, was Andy- 
Beg ; he had a pleading, pinched look in 
his face, and a strange light in his eyes, 
and a quiet, unchildlike gentleness in his 
voice, which aroused the darkest fears in 
his mother's breast. He was not meant 
for this world, she said, but he was a 
little fairy, with a human voice, and 
human eyes, and surely a human soul. 
He had come to them, and had been a 
blessing to them, but he was perhaps not 
destined to stay. 

Andy Beg was not a strong child. 
Once or twice during his short life he 
had been stricken down, and had lain at 
death's door ; and at those times the old 
man had awakened from his torpor, and 
had sat beside the bed, with his dull 
eyes fixed in agony, as if his life hung 
upon the child's breath. But Andy had 
recovered from these attacks, and had 
taken his place again between his grand- 
father's knees, his face a little more 

My Connaught Cousins. 37 

pinched and worn, his eyes shining a 
little more brightly, his voice chiming 
with a still more pathetic ring. The child's 
face had never looked so old and strange 
as it did on that Christmas night, when, 
standing betweeen his grandfather's knees, 
with his small white fingers resting upon 
the bony hands of the old man, and his 
cheek pressed against his sleeve, he had 
fixed those luminous eyes of his upon 
the grim countenance of Cuileagh Clan- 
morris, and had asked him to tell him of 
the fairy maidens who tended their flocks 
on Christmas night on the Isle na Creag 
— that spot of green which was supposed 
to be visible every year an hour before 
midnight mass. 

Cuileagh Clanmorris puffed hard at his 
pipe, and between each puff he gazed 
more fixedly at the child, and as he did 
so the hard expression of his face grew 
tender, and the heavy clouds of smoke 
more dense. A shade of disappointment 

38 My Connaught Cousins, 

stole over Andy's face as he listened to 
the grim man's speech, and the little 
white hand began beating upon the bony 
fingers of his grandfather. 

" Sure I thought you had seen it, 
Cuileagh ! " 

" Not I, in troth, but 'tis often I heard 
tell of it." 

For a moment the child stood with his 
eyes fixed meditatively upon the glowing 
turf sods ; then suddenly he turned round, 
gently opened the old man's coat, and dived 
his small hand deep into a pocket in the 
inside. This pocket was the child's special 
property ; it was solely appropriated to his 
use ; no hands but his ever slipped into it 
and brought to light the strange medley 
of things with which it was filled. Andy 
knew exactly what was there. He could 
count on his fingers the number of stones 
he had, which served him as marbles ; 
he knew the exact length of the string 
which wound his top, and the top, too, 

My Connaitght Cousins. 39 

was there — the one which Cuileagh Clan- 
morris had brought him that time he went 
to Gulranny fair. They were safe there, 
Andy knew ; no one but himself would dare 
to rifle the old man's coat-pockets ; and 
the old man himself, — why he was merely 
a peg on which the coat hung, although, 
if occasion required, he guarded Andy's 
property with jealous ferocity. 

So on this occasion the child was pretty 
sure of findino^ the treasure he souo-ht. His 
hand dived to the bottom, then it emerged, 
holding tightly a piece of white loaf-bread. 

" Sure, I will give you this, if you will 
tell what you know to me and grandfather." 
And he held forth the bread as an in- 
ducement. Among the peasantry of Stor- 
port, white bread was a luxury which was 
seldom seen, and seldom or never eaten ; so, 
on this occasion, Andy attached to it as 
much importance as a southern child would 
do to an apple, a bonbon, or any other 
delicacy. Cuileagh Clanmorris smiled, drew 

40 My Connaught Cousins. 

his pipe from his mouth, knocked out the 
ashes upon the hearth-stone, leaned his 
elbows upon his knees, and looked into 
Andy's face. 

" Ate yer bread, Andy eroo, sure I'll tell 
ye what I know without the likes of that ! " 

Andy drew back softly with a brighter 
face, and began munching the bread, and 
rubbed his cheek against the old man's 
sleeve, and patted his hand, and added, 
softly, — 

" And you will tell grandfather, too ? " 
while the old man, who had been aroused 
by the sound of the child's voice, murmured 
quietly, in a mumbling, half sleepy tone, — 

" Ay, ay," and dozed off again. 

It was a Christmas night. 

Outside on the hills the snow gleamed, 
and when the voices were still the room 
was filled with a soft low music floating 
up from the sea, which washed upon the 
shingle scarce a hundred yards from the 
cabin-door. Here and there on the hills 

My Connaught Cousins. 41 

dark figures flitted along, leaving deep 
tracks behind them in the snow as they 
passed on towards the chapel to hear 
Father John say midnight mass. The 
wind which blew softly scattered the snow 
and ruffled the surface of the sea. 

Andy Beg was fortunate so far as he was 
spared the misery attendant upon wintry 
weather and cheerless Christmas nights. A 
bright firelight played upon him and warmed 
him, and illumined his pale pinched little 
face as he stood between his grandfather's 
knees with his eyes fixed upon Cuileagh, 
waiting for the tale. 

" 'Tis often I heard tell of it," said 
Cuileagh, " but whether 'tis true or not, 
none but the Holy Virgin herself can tell. 
They're sayin' it rises up from the say 
there just before midnight mass. 'Tis a 
lovely island, they tell, with trees and 
grass and flowers and streams, and in every 
one 0' them flowers there's a fairy, and in 
every one 0' them streams there's a score 

42 My Connaiight Cousins. 

o' them, and under the trees there's a herd 
o' cattle grazing, and a fairy colleen watch- 
ing them, and singing the while, and that 
herd o' cattle," continued Cuileagh, lowering 
his voice to an awful whisper, " is a herd 
of mortal men." 

" Well, well ! " said Andy, fixing his eyes 
in astonishment ; " and how did they come 
there at all, at all ? " 

" The Lord knows ! " returned Cuileagh 
solemnly ; " but 'tis said they were passing 
along the say shore on a Christmas night, 
when they seen the island itself, and the 
fairies dancing and capering about, and they 
laughed and clapped their hands, and for 
this they were made fairies, and on Christmas 
night they were turned to a herd o' cattle 
as a punishment, and since then no mortal 
man has ever looked on it, and if he does, 'tis 
a sure sign that 'tis dead he'll be before the 
year is out, and the fairies will take his soul, 
and tho' 'tis a grand place, sure 'tis only fit for 
the likes o' them, but not for Christian men." 

My Connaught Cousins. 43 

For a few moments Andy stood silent, 
looking into the fire ; then he turned his 
little pale face, with the fire's red glow upon 
it, and gazed into Cuileagh's dark eyes. 

'' Will I go there, Cuileagh ? " he asked ; 
and added softly, " and will grandfather go 

" The Lord forbid ! " said Cuileagh as he 
reverently crossed his breast. "Sure you 
wouldn't wish to go to the fairies, Andy Beg ? 
and as to your grandfather there, why the 
Blessed Virgin herself will take him when 
'tis time ! " 

" Will she ? " said Andy, opening his eyes. 
" Then maybe she will take me too. 
Grandfather wouldn't go alone, w^ould you, 
granny ? " 

He looked wistfully into the old man's 
face ; he found no gleam of light there, but 
he saw^ the grey head shake slowly. 

Andy felt ever so little disappointed that 
night. He would not leave his grandfather, 
not for worlds, if the old man went to the 

44 -^y Connattght Cottsins. 

Virgin, why of necessity, Andy must go too, 
but as he lay down to rest, he could not 
help thinking that he would much rather be 
going to the Fairy Island, to hear the fairies 
singing, and to watch the shining sea. 


All the world seemed white, the moun- 
tains were white, covered deep in snow, 
and the streams and tarns were frozen to 
crystal ice ; and before all stretched the 
sea like a glittering glassy mirror sparkling 
in the light. As Andy stood knee-deep in the 
snow and looked around him, his eyes got 
dazzled with so much brightness. He did 
not know how he got there ; he did not 
know why he had come ; he did not know 
where he was even ; he only knew that he 
stood alone in the snow, away from his 
grandfather for the first time in his life. 

The little fellow folded his arms to keep 
himself warm, and looked around again. 

My Connaught Cousins, 45 

Behind him the hills stretched in loner 
perspective ; then they got mingled up 
confusedly, and then they turned into old 
men's faces, and gazed at him through 
hoary hair. Andy felt a little frightened, and 
looked at the sea. It still lay placid, and 
mirrored on its surface were innumerable 
stars reflected from the heavens above. 
Not a breath stirred ; but as Andy stood 
looking he suddenly became aware that the 
air was filled with a soft, low, musical 
sound, like the humming of a thousand bees. 
Andy stood gazing and listening enraptured, 
and then he found that his eyes were not 
resting upon the water at all, but upon a 
spot, a lovely green spot, set out yonder in 
the shining; water. He looked again. It 
was an island, covered with long grass, 
and taU waving ferns and bright silvern 
flowers, the scent of which was difl'used into 
the sea breeze and wafted into his face ; and 
he saw figures, bright little fairy figures, 
moving about amidst these green glades, 

46 My Connaugkt Cousins. 

and their faces, oh ! so quaint and old, 
just like his own, were turned towards him, 
and their eyes looked into his. 

The whole island was flooded with a 
bright light, which streamed down upon 
the grass and the flowers and the little fairy- 
figures which moved about them. Then 
Andy's eyes wandered on, and he saw a herd 
of cattle feeding beneath the trees, and he 
knew this must be the herd of which 
Cuileagh spoke, for there, quite near them, 
sat the figure of a lovely colleen singing 
softly, with her eyes downcast. Then 
Andy began to think how much he would 
like to go there, into that cool and lovely 
place, and even as he thought so the 
colleen rose, and turned towards him, and 
beckoned with her white hand. Andy 
stretched his hands out too, when sud- 
denly he remembered that he was there 
alone, so he drew back again, and cried, — 

" I will come ! but I must bring grand- 
father ! " 

My Con7taugkt Cousifis. 47 

He turned, and at that moment a great 
clang struck on his ear, a heavy, sonorous 
sound, like the ringing of bells, in the air 
flashes of light darted, and a cry was heard 
like a human voice. Then Andy felt 
frightened again, and looked behind him, 
and he saw the island glittering now like a 
ball of fire ; and the tree tops waved, and 
the fairies danced ; the cattle raised their 
heads, and lowed softly in weary human 
voices, and as they did so their heads turned 
to human heads, and their eyes looked 
straight into Andy's, while slowly the island 
split in two and sank softly beneath the 

Andy opened his eyes, and found he was 
lying in his bed, with the full cold light 
of a Christmas morning streaming in his 
face ; the chapel bells were ringing for early 
mass. He looked around, but he was alone. 
He never would sleep with his grandfather ; 
the old man looked so hideous and skele- 
tonian in his night gear, his sunken cheeks. 

48 My Connaught Cousins. 

and hollow eyes were made so ghastly by a 
white nightcap, that, much as Andy loved 
him, he never could trust himself to gaze 
upon him in this condition ; so, instead of 
running to his grandfather's bedside, and 
telling him of his dream, he lay quite 
still and tried to dream it all over 
again. But when at length he was up 
and again standing between his grand- 
father's knees he looked questioningly into 
his face. 

*' Grandfather," he said, ** is it to the 
Fairy Island you would wish to go, or to 
the Blessed Virgin herself ? " 

The old man looked at him for a time 
bewildered, then he said slowly, — ; 

" Sure all good Christians go to the 
Virgin, and why wouldn't I go intirely ? " 

" Because," said Andy softly, and his 
face grew more old-fashioned as he spoke, 
" because, grandfather, 'tis to the Fairy 
Island I am going, and I want you to 
come too 1 " 

My Connaught Cousins. 49 


From that day, Andy began to change. 
His face grew more pinched and white, 
his eyes more luminous, and his manner 
more old-fashioned and strange. He still 
stood between his grandfather's knees as 
he used to do, and attended to the old 
man's wants, but his voice was sometimes 
a little peevish now, and he would not 
speak much to those who were about him. 
He seemed to become so discontented at 
times that his mother looked at him, won- 
dering what could be the matter with the 
child. Andy had always been sickly and 
white, but he had never been peevish 
before, he had ever taken what was 
given to him with a good grace. Now 
he turned pettishly from his food. 

" Mother," he said one day, '' why is it 
that I eat stirabout ? " 

" Sure, you know we have nothing 

50 My Connaught Cousins. 

else in the house to give you, Andy, 
eroo',' his mother replied. 

" Sure, then, I know that same," said 
Andy, " but if 'twas in the Fairy Island 
I was, they would give me white bread." 

His mother crossed herself. 

" Never name them, Andy hawn. You 
know you are a Christian child ! " 

But Andy replied, — 

" Maybe I shall be a fairy some day 
for all that ! " 

There was something very wrong with 
the boy, but what that something was none 
could determine. His mother looked at him 
again and again with an anxious, scrutiniz- 
ing gaze, but she could discover nothing. 
Cuileagh Clanmorris came night after night, 
and smoked his pipe in the ingle, and 
looked into Andy's face with those keen 
penetrating eyes of his, and as he did 
so his thoughts, almost in spite of himself, 
travelled back to that Christmas, only a 
month gone by, when he had told the 

My Connatight Cousins. 51 

child the fairy legend, and when Andy 
himself had slept and seen fair}^-land. 

Cuileagh Clanmorris was superstitious, as 
were most of the peasantry of Storport, 
and, as he thought over these things, he 
shuddered. For this hard-workinof, coarse- 
natured man had come to love the quaint 
little old-fashioned child. Nio^ht after nig;ht 
now he brought with him lumps of w^hite 
bread and gave them to Andy, and as 
the child stood between his grandfather's 
knees and munched at the bread, 
Cuileagh tried to tell him other stories 
to divert his mind. But Andy took no 
interest in any but one thing, his 
thoughts constantly reverted to the old 

" I wonder," he said, one night as he 
looked into Cuileagrh's face, " I wonder if 
fairies always eat w^hite bread ? " 

" Maybe," answered Cuileagh ; " they're 
dainty people, they're sayin', and fond o' 
swate things." 

OF wxxms 

52 My Connaught Cousins. 

" Then, surely," continued the child, 
" they would give me bread too ? " 

" If ye were a fairy." 

" And grandfather ? " 

" Ay, ay," murmured the old man, and 
he nodded his head, and looked at the child 
with a vacant gaze ; while Cuileagh mur- 
mured to himself, "Maybe 'tis a fairy 
that he is afther all." 

More and more pathetic grew that little 
pinched face of Andy's ; yet the paler his 
cheeks became, the more peevish he seemed 
to grow. There was something very wrong, 
indeed, for once or twice Andy spoke even 
to his grandfather in a querulous tone. 
The old man was dimly conscious of the 
change, though he was yet too dull to 
perceive exactly what was amiss. He 
looked into the child's face with a pained, 
questioning glance, whereon Andy grew 
gentle again as ever, and the tears slowly 
gathered in his eyes. 

The winter passed thus, and as each 

Aly Connatight Cousins, 53 

month rolled away, and the snow was 
melted from the ground, and the sun 
shone upon the hills, Andy's face grew 
whiter and whiter ; and when summer 
came he lay in a little cot by the kitchen 
fire, close to his grandfather's side. He 
lay there and thought and thought as he 
looked into the fire, or listened to the 
monotonous washing; of the sea. His 
peevishness seemed partly gone now, and 
he grew quiet, and gentle, and kind as 
his custom was. Oh, yes, he was quite 
like his old self, though he looked so 
pinched and old, and his little white 
hands were as thin and transparent as his 

Lifeless as the old man generally ap- 
peared, he now grew^ dimly conscious of 
what was happening, and his dull, heavy, 
lustreless eyes brightened into something 
like life as he watched Andy's face. He 
seemed to feel that a chilly hand was 
drawing the child away, and he began to 

54 My Connaught Cousins. 

half realise what the loss would be to 

Andy could not understand all this, he 
was too young. He had been so long 
with his grandfather that he did not 
dream of parting ; they seemed to breathe 
together. His grandfather would never 
leave him, he thought, and as to himself, 
why, if he became a fairy, grandfather 
must become a fairy too ; and as he lay 
in his cot day after day, with the summer 
sunshine streaming full upon him, he 
thought and wondered over all these 

" Cuileagh," he said, one day when 
Ouileagh had strolled in to sit beside him, 
" are they all little people that live in the 
Fairy Island." 

" Yes, sure," said Cuileagh gruffly. 

"Then must everybody get small before 
they go ? " 

" Maybe ; but what for do ye ask that, 
Andy hawn f " 

My Coiinatight Cousins. 55 

" Because I was wonderins: how orrand- 
father will get there. He is so big, you 

" Sure 'tis not there he will go at all — 
the Holy Virgin forbid ! never spake of it 
again, Andy astore.'' 

And Andy never did speak of it again, 
but he lay in his cot and grew weaker and 
weaker, until at last he seemed to fade 
away, and his spirit broke loose, and went 
to the Fairy Land. 

They laid him out in his Sunday's best, 
and the neighbours flocked in to look upon 
the small face and sunken cheeks. Grand- 
father sat beside the bed, holding in his 
bony fingers the child's clay-cold hand, and 
gazing upon him in stupefied despair. As 
he sat there, only faintly feeling his loss, as 
yet too senile to understand that Andy had 
gone from him for ever, he saw the people 
come and go like waves of a living sea, and 
as each person came up to gaze upon the 
pale, pinched, pleading face of the child, 

56 My Coniiaught Cousins, 

he heard the same words ringing in his 
ears, " Sure, I always knew he was a fairy, 
and so he's gone to the fairies at last ! " 


The house was very dull when Andy was 
taken away. Though he had ever been a 
quiet child, his very presence seemed to 
bring light and life with it. But now the 
merest footfall echoed strangely through the 
room, and the roaring of the sea was ever 
heard, and the chilly whistling of the wind. 
For the summer which had taken Andy 
away had faded away too, and another 
Christmas was drawing nigh. They had all 
missed Andy, and they had all said so — 
but one — his grandfather. 

The old man lived still. 

He had made no mention of the child. 
With tearless eyes he had watched them 
take him away, and then he had resumed 
his old seat in the ingle. There he sat, day 

My Connaught Coztsins. 57 

after day, like a heavy lifeless log ; he never 
opened his eyes to speak ; he never raised 
his head to look around ; and he never 
asked for Andy ; but his bony hands were 
clasped ujDon his knees, and his knees were 
always apart, as if Andy stood between 
them. He never smoked now, because 
there was no Andy to light his pipe ; he 
seldom took food, because the child was not 
there to give and share it ; he never spoke 
of Andy, and they thought he had forgotten 
him entirely. But one day, as he sat there 
apparently lifeless, he suddenly raised his 
hand, and put it into the inside pocket of 
his coat, .Andy's pocket, and drew forth the 
treasures Andy had left — a small piece of 
white bread, dried now hard as any stone, 
some pieces of string, and coloured stones 
and shells. These he held in his hand, and 
gazed at them with a hea\y, stupefied stare, 
then his fingers closed over them again, 
and they were put back into Andy's pocket 
to wait for Andy's coming. 

58 My Connaught Cousins. 

The old man often repeated this, but the 
treasures were saved from the touch of any 
other human hand. 

Christmas night swept round again, and 
the peasantry of Storport hurried over the 
snow-clad hills to hear the midnight mass. 
In the widow Dunloe's cabin there was no 
rejoicing ; the sea still washed on the shore 
with that dreary sound which had called 
Andy away. The widow Dunloe sat silent, 
thinking of the Christmas night, twelve 
months before, when Andy had stood be- 
tween his grandfather's knees, and listened 
to the fairy tale. Cuileagh Clanmorris was 
near the fire, smoking hard, but saying no 
word, and grandfather sat in his usual way 
with bowed head and closed eyes. The old 
man was not thinking of Andy, he was now 
almost too senile to think at all ; but he 
had closed his eyes and fallen into a doze. 
As he sat thus, something startled him. 
He opened his eyes, and he saw standing 
between his knees, invisible to all eyes save 

My Connaitght Cousins. 59 

bis own, a little bright figure patting his 
hand, just like Andy used to do. As the 
old man looked the figure turned, and a 
little face was raised ■ up to his. It was 
Andy's face, grown whiter. The old man 
looked again — sure enough it was Andy ! 
There he stood, just as he had stood a year 
ago, and he looked almost the same. He 
stood for a moment between his grand- 
father's knees, with his eyes fixed upon the 
fire, then, still without speaking a word, he 
turned gently, pulled open his grandfather's 
coat, and put his hand into the pocket, and 
drew forth that hard dried piece of white 
bread and held it in his hand, then with 
the other he seized the old man's coat. 

" Come along, grandfather, come along," 
he said, in his old pathetic tones. 

The old man half rose from his seat, and 
looked around wildly with glazed, heavy eyes. 

"Ay, ay," he murmured, then he sank 
down in his seat again, his eyes closed, 
and his head drooped upon his breast. 

6o My Connaught Cousins, 

When the Christmas bells rang out 
with a heavy clang for midnight, they 
found OTandfather sittino: in his chair 
quite dead. His head had fallen forward, 
his hands hung beside him, and on the 
floor at his feet lay the crust of bread 
which Andy had left. Perhaps his spirit 
had gone from the earth to join Andy 
on the Fairy Island in the sea. 

As Amy finished, still kneeling on the 
hearth, with her little hands clasped upon 
my knee, all the girls, in a perfect rap- 
ture of delight, kissed her ; her father 
cried, " Well done, little woman," and I, 
noticing that her eyes were heavy, lifted 
her in my arms and carried her up to 
bed, a luxury which she enjoyed hugely. 
She clasped her arms about my neck, 
and kissed me, for as soon as we got 
out of Kate's hearing I promised to send 
her a perfect little angel of a dog when 
I got back to town. 


ALF-A-DOZEN days of wild win- 
ter weather, then the tempest 
lulled, the winds hushed them- 
selves, the hail and rain ceased to fall ; 
and I, accompanied as usual by Shawn, 
prepared to emerge from the cosy warmth 
of the Lodge in search of sport. 

" True winter weather, sir," said Father 
John, who had looked in for a minute 
or so in passing ; and, indeed true winter 
weather it seemed, for the priest's fingers 
were blue, and his round handsome face 
had also a bluish tinge ; it quickly dis- 
appeared, however, before a glass or two 
of Jamieson. 

62 My Connaught Cotcsins. 

" By the way, Mister Kenmare," said 
the jovial ecclesiastic as he rose to go, 
" I'm sadly afraid, sir, that that man of 
yours, Conolly Magrath, will get himself 
into trouble ; 'tis but three nights ago 
since he w^as nearly surprised heading a 
Eibbon meeting which was held at the 
house of Mrs Timlin ; and only last night, 
I'm told, the police entered his cabin 
and found a gun which was loaded, and 
quietly hidden away. At the time of 
the seizure the man was heavy with 
the drink — a sore curse to the country, 
sir," he added in an aside to me, — *' and he 
set upon the peelers ; but they were one 
too many for him, since the upshot of 
it was that they seized the gun, and 
paid Mr Conolly for his resistance. This 
morning at daybreak I received a call 
to come and give him absolution — I'm 
on my way to him now." 

From the leisurely manner in which 
the priest had thought fit to obey the 

My Connaught Cousins. 6 

suTnmon, I imagined that Mr Conolly 
could not he at death's door ; but I, 
feeling interested, offered to accompany 
the priest — my uncle, who looked very 
grave over the matter, volunteered to 
go too ; so we three set off together. 1 
shouldered my gun, and ordered Shawn 
to follow, at some slight interval of time, 
with the dogs. 

We found Conolly looking rather the 
worse for the adventure, but by no 
means moribund ; he had received a few 
cuts about the head and face, and had 
lost a considerable deal of blood. He 
lay stretched upon the outside of his 
bed ; and my uncle frowned as he saw 
that he was being attended to by the 
republican-minded ]\Irs Timlin. I was 
glad to find matters no worse, for I had 
grown to take considerable interest in 
Conolly. When Shawn appeared with 
the dogs, I followed him with a contented 

64 My Con7iaught Cousins. 

What a day it was ! The wind was 
certainly lulled to rest, but the fierce 
rollers of the Atlantic still dashed wildly in 
upon the sand and around the jagged cliffs, 
which stood like gaunt spectres, towering up 
amidst a chilly shower of foam. But the 
greensward above was sparkling with the 
radiance of a thousand gems ; the air was 
crisp and sharp, and the frozen ground 
crackled and glistened beneath my feet. The 
estuaries were perfectly alive with birds ; 
wild duck and widgeon were paddling 
leisurely about ; the golden plover were 
running and pecking on the sand, wild geese 
were lighting on the promontory beyond, 
and countless sea-gulls were hovering in 
the clear frosty air. The long range of hills 
stretched in one jet black line along the 
clear horizon ; and the tiny thatched 
hamlets, which were dotted here and 
there on the hillsides, like sea birds 
crouching for shelter amidst thick 
clumps of purple heather, w^ere thrown 

My Connaught Cousins. 65 

out and glorified by the clear frosty back- 

I had come out intending to have a day 
on the low-lying marshes, among the snipe ; 
and I knew that my cartridge belt was 
crammed with cartridges loaded with 
number seven ; but the sight of all these 
birds tempted me, and I suggested that, even 
with number seven, we should make a trial 
at the ducks. 

But Shawn, wiser than I, shook his head. 

" 'T would be but wasting good powder 
and shot, yer honor," said he. " Sure at the 
present time they're as wild as wild can be, 
and wouldn't let ye come widin five hundred 
yards o' them. After a little shpell o' quiet 
weather they'll be worth a trial, but not to- 
day. Sure your honor would do far better 
to keep to the shnipe." 

So to the snipe I accordingly kept, beating 
the low-lying marshes with a couple of my 
uncle's best setters ; and I was rewarded for 
my pains ; the frost had drawn them in by 


66 My Comiaught Cousins. 

dozens, and I managed to make a con- 
siderable bag. 

We had still another bit of land to beat — 
and were about to make our way towards 
it ; when we were arrested by three shrill 
whistles which reached us from the road. 
1 turned at once, and saw the figures of a 
man and a woman standing together on the 
road a few hundred yards away ; the man 
was waving his hat, the woman was stand- 
ing on the roadside hard by waving her 

"That last marsh will keep," I said, turn- 
ing to Shawn. " I've had enough for to-day, 
whistle up the dogs and follow me to the 
road ; we'll walk home that way with Miss 

For I had recognised Oona at the first 
glance ; the man I could not identify, but 
when I got to the road I saw it was young 
Bingley of Gulranny. Both of them had 
changed with the changing weather. I saw 
Oona for the first time wrapped up in heavy 

My Connaught Cousins. 67 

furs, and very pretty indeed she looked in 
them ; while young Bingley, having dis- 
carded the kilt, had his legs completely 
covered by a pair of quaintly cut knee- 

" Jack," said Oona, after I had shaken 
hands with Charlie, " we've disturbed you 
at your sport." 

I hastened to assure her that this was not 
the case ; that I had quite finished and 
was on my way to the Lodge ; and I fancied 
that Oona looked particularly pleased with 
the information. 

" In that case," she continued, " you will 
not mind walking home by the road with 
me, will you ? Mr Murray is at the Lodge ; 
he and Charlie are going to stay with us 
till the morning. You'll not be long 
making your call, will you ? " she said, turn- 
ing to Bingley ; " we shall walk very slowly 
80 that you can overtake us." 

" No, I sha'n't be long," returned he ; 
'* but I think — in fact I know, I can't 

68 My Coiifiaught Cousins. 

stop at the Lodge to-night ; I must get 

He stammered, turned red, and looked 
very uncomfortable as he spoke, and it 
dawned upon me that there was something 
wrong. Bingley looked positively wretched, 
and there was decidedly a false ring about 
Oona's careless laugh. I noticed, too, that 
she, usually the most hospitable of girls, 
made no attempt to urge him to remain ; 
she seemed somewhat relieved, too, when at 
last she found herself free of his company 
and walking along by my side. 

" Well, Oona," I said, when we were alone, 
'' what brought over Murray and Charlie 

"They heard that Conolly was killed, 
and they rode over to hear about it." 

'* And they are going to stop all night ? " 

" They were ; but I don't know now. 
You heard Charlie say he must get home ! " 

" He seems to have changed his mind 
very suddenly." 

My Connmight Cousins, 69 

"" Yes — did you have good sport to-day '\ " 

''Capital. How came you to be on tlif 
road with Bingley ? " 

" I was walking with him. He had a call 
to make on one of his mother s fishermen, 
who lives in one of those huts yonder." 

" And you volunteered to walk with him?" 

" No, he asked me, and I thought 1 
should enjoy the walk." 

" And did you ? " 

" Why, of course I did ; don't I always 
enjoy walking, Jack ? " 

" I am not talking of always, but of now. 
Did you enjoy your walk with Bingley. 
Oona ? " 

" What a question ! " said Oona, laughing ; 
" I suppose I should have enjoyed it very 
much if I hadn't crot tired. Then I cauo-ht 
sight of you beating the marshes, and 1 
asked Charlie to whistle you up, which he 
did. Any more questions ? " 

" Yes, one more. Tell me, Oona," and 
I bent down to look in her face, " what 

70 My Connaught Cousins. 

did Bingley say to you during your walk 

What Oona would have replied, I don't 
know, for at that moment our conversation 
was rudely interrupted by a wild voice 
which spoke rapidly and clearly in the 
Irish tongue. We both started ; looked 
up, and saw at once the cause of the dis- 
turbance. I suppose we had loitered, for 
Shawn with the dogs had managed to get 
well ahead of us ; he now stood in the 
road, facing the person, the sound of 
whose voice had so rudely disturbed our 

That person was a woman whom I now 
recognised as having seen once or twice 
before during my solitary rambles on the 
bog ; a woman who had succeeded on more 
than one occasion in arousing my curiosity, 
but about whom I had always forgotten 
to question my cousins. 

She was certainly a lady : her face, 
though pinched and worn - looking, and 

J/y Connaught Cousins. 71 

white as that of a corpse, bore the un- 
mistakable stamp of high breeding. Her 
figure was angular, and clad as usual 
in black, while her eyes glared like 
two wild lio^hts from their cavernous 
sockets. She seemed to be quite seventy 
years of age. On her left shoulder was 
the only bit of colour to be found upon 
her, and that looked like a random splash 
of blood ; on nearer inspection one dis- 
covered it to be a bit of crimson cloth, 
ragojed and torn, w^hich had been carefuUv 
stitched upon her dress. She was evidently 
very much excited, for, as far as I could 
make out, she seemed to be pouring upon 
Shawn a perfect hurricane of abuse, and 
once or twice I fancied I saw her raise her 
right hand as if to strike him. To my 
amazement Shawn took all this without 
a word ; he hung his head, shuffled his 
feet, flicked the dog- whip which he held 
in his hand, but said nothing. I was about 
to hurry forward and ask an explanation 

72 My Connaught Cousins. 

of the whole affair, when I felt a detaining 
hand laid upon my arm, and looking round 
I saw Oona, white as a ghost, and trembling 
in every limb. She had understood every 
word of the wild Irish harangue. 

" Don't go forward, Jack," she pleaded 
earnestly. " It's only Mrs Gregory." 

" Only Mrs Gregory ! " 

**Yes. She is aunt to Mr O'Neil, 
the landlord here. She is a little violent 
at times, but after all it's no wonder, poor 
thing ! " 

" But what have I done to her, Oona ? " 

" Nothing, and she is saying nothing 
to you, but it seems that the dogs have 
been scampering through her potato fields 
and breaking down the bines — Now, 
don't go forward, Jack ! — you might be in- 
duced to answer her roughly, and I wouldn't 
have that for the world." 

I looked at Oona and saw at once that 
she was terribly in earnest ; her cheeks 
were pale ; her eyes full of tears. At that 

My Connaught Cote sins. 73 

moment Mrs Gregory, having said her say, 
passed on. Shawn, now holding the offend- 
ing dogs on a leash, followed her ; next 
came Oona and myself. 

Both my interest and curiosity were 
aroused by this time, and I would fain have 
learned more of this extraordinary woman, 
but the sound of her voice had thrown 
Oona into such a state of agitation, that I 
thought it better to turn the conversation 
to lighter themes ; silently determining 
however to elicit the whole story from 
Shawn, when next we should find ourselves 

When we reached the Lodge a fresh sur- 
prise awaited us. Eight before the hall- 
door was young Bingley on horseback 
saying " Good-bye " all round. He looked 
rather shamefaced at seeing us, and con- 
fessed that he had avoided us by taking 
a short cut across the hills. My former 
suspicions were certainties now. I knew 
he had asked Oona to be his wife, and 

74 -^y Connaught Cousins. 

the knowledge of why she had refused 
him gave me a better appetite for dinner. 

There was a jolly party at the Lodge 
that night. Though Bingley had departed, 
Murray remained, and from the way he 
looked at Aileen it was not difficult to 
guess the reason. Father John and the 
doctor were there ; both well on in their 
cups, and ready with story and song ; 
while in the kitchen sat Conolly, very 
much disfigured, but looking happy through 
it all, since he had heard that very after- 
noon that Mr O'Neil, on being told of 
the seizure of the gun, had been taken 
with violent trembling, and had sent word 
to the barracks that he must be attended 
by a stronger guard of police. 

" Sure he's an omadhaun, yer honor," 
said Conolly contemptuously, as he told me 
the story ; " he's no better than a woman, 
and not half so good as some. And 'tis 
him, and such as him, as own the broad 
acres of Ireland." 

My Co7i7iaught Cousins. 75 

I may add, in passing, that it is as bad 
for an Irish landlord to be a coward as 
a tyrant. They may respect a t}Tant, 
even while they hate him — but they will 
never respect a coward. 

The evening passed away merrily 
enough, but just as it was drawing to a 
close, a message came to the Lodge for 
Kathleen. A little child belondno; to one 
of the crofters had been taken ill, and 
she was beo^ged " for the love of God " 
come. The child's father brought the 
message : he was waitingr in the kitchen 
for the answ^er, Mary said. Kathleen put 
on her bonnet and cloak to walk back 
with him, but I expressed my deter- 
mination to see her safely there and home 
again ; so while she was getting ready, I 
went to the kitchen to tell the man he 
might go. 

I said w^hat I had to say, had got half 
w^ay back to the dining-room, when I 
paused, turned and looked at the man 

76 My Connaught Cousins, 

again. He was about the handsomest man 
I had seen since I came to Storport, but 
it was not this fact which commanded 
my attention so much as the strange, 
unaccountable expression on his face. 
He was not more than thirty years of 
age ; yet his hair was as grey as my 
uncle's, who had passed his sixtieth 
year, while his bronzed face was marked 
with premature lines. When I men- 
tioned this fact to Kathleen, she sighed, 
and said, " No wonder, poor fellow ! " 
but she said no more. 

We set out at once, and both enjoyed 
our walk. The night was clear — the 
air frosty : already the roads were 
hardening, while above our heads the 
moon, full and clear, sailed in a cloudless 

We had walked quickly ; but the man 
had reached home first, for when 
we entered the cabin he was there. 
I was not surprised to see Kath- 

My Con7iaiight Cousins, 

I / 

leen give him a hearty hand-shake, but 
I confess I was startled to see her walk 
up to a woman who sat on a bench by 
the fire with her apron over her head — 
take her in her arms, and kiss her. This 
action on the part of my cousin made me 
look at the woman again. The apron 
by this time was removed, and I saw a 
face — white, wild, and sorrow-stricken — 
yet strangely beautiful. Though she was 
evidently only a peasant — and wore the 
homeliest of peasant dresses — her little 
feet were encased in thick leather boots, 
and her hands were delicately and prettily 
formed. From her appearance I thought 
she might be a lady masquerading in a 
peasant's dress. She clung about my 
cousin's neck, and sobbed, — 

" Oh, Miss Kathleen, I can't bear it. 
Sure I can't keep in Storport with Mrs 
Gregory ! " 

Mrs Gregory again ! I started in aston- 
ishment as this pretty, trembling creature 

78 My Connaught Cousins. 

pronounced the name of my mysterious 
old lady of the hills. " What influence 
can Mrs Gregory have here ? " I asked 
myself, and having by this time 
grown thoroughly interested, I waited 
to hear more ; I was therefore rather sorry 
when I saw the man come forward and 
lay his hands gently upon the girl's 

" Rosie, machree" he said, " sure 'tis 
not like you to go on like this. Come, 
get up, mavourneen ; Miss Kathleen is 
goin' to look at little May ; and here is 
the young mashter too, that's come with 
Miss Kathleen from the Lodge." 

This last piece of news produced the 
desired eff'ect. The girl cast her eyes 
round the kitchen, and for the first time 
saw me standing near the door. She 
unclasped her arms from Kathleen's neck, 
rose, smoothed back her lovely black hair, 
curtesied, and murmured, " You're wel- 
come, sir ! " at the same time she drew 

My Connaught Cousins. 79 

up a form beside the fire, and begged me 
to be seated. 

I could never bear to see a woman cry, 
especially a young and pretty one : and 
when I looked into Eose's pitiful face, 
I felt inclined to do what my cousin had 
done already — take her in my arms and 
kiss her. As this was not feasible, how- 
ever, I contented myself with taking her 
pretty hand, and holding it for a moment 
between my own ; then when she drew 
it away, I took the seat which she had 
offered me by the fire. 

Then I saw that Kathleen had gone 
towards the bed, and was bending over 
a child. 

The cabin was a poor one, — about the 
poorest on the Storport estate ; but though 
it resembled its fellows in most ways, it 
differed from them in one. It had the 
usual black rafters above, mud floor be- 
low ; turf fire on the floor, and cauldron, 
ever reminding one of the witch scene in 

8o My Connaught Cousins. 

" Macbeth." At one end of the room was 
strewn a little straw, which I noticed at 
once was fresh and clean ; and upon this 
reposed the cow, — a few hens were roost- 
ing among the rafters, and a fat pig lay 
lazily beside the fire. The only furniture 
in the room was a table, a couple of 
forms, and a bed ; all as clean and fresh- 
looking as new drawn milk ; while on the 
bed, between the fresh clean sheets, lay 
the prettiest little creature imaginable. 

Little May was about five years old, 
and though only a peasant's ofi"spring was as 
delicately organised as a little fairy. She 
had her mother's black hair and dark 
dreamy eyes, and evidently her mother's 
excitability, for her little hands were 
clammy and trembled nervously. She was 
clearly suffering from an attack of some 
kind of fever, for her face was flushed, 
and her eyes were most unnaturally bright. 
Kathleen felt her pulse ; laid her cool hand 
upon the child's forehead, then turning to 

Aly Coimmight Cousifis. 8i 

the mother, asked if " May " had been 
frio^htened ao^ain. 

" Sure enough, Miss Kathleen," returned 
Rose, " and 'twill always be the same as 
long as w^e stop in Storport." 

Kathleen took the girl's trembling hand, 

" Tell me about it, Eose," she said in 
her quiet way. 

" She was out by herself to-day," said 
Eose. "I let her go, for I was in dread 
to see her looking so pale, and I thought 
no harm would come to her ; when she 
was coming home she met Mrs Gregory; 
she tried to run away for she's terrified at 
sight of her, but before she had gone far 
Mrs Gregory seized her, lifted her up — 
showed her that red thing on her shoulder, 
and told her — and told her — oh, Miss 
Kathleen, I can't tell you what she told 
her ! " 

*' Yes, yes," said Kathleen, " I under- 
stand. Well, is there anything more ? " 

" In troth. Miss Kathleen, then there 
VOL. m. F 

82 My Connaught Cousins. 

is. When slie saw May was frightened, 
she laughed and clutched her tight, and 
walked away with her, and May was too 
frightened to move. She carried her to 
the lake in the swamps, took hold of the 
back of her dress and held her over the 
water, and when May screamed she only 
laughed, and said she liked people to feel 
what suffering was ; that, if she thought 
they wouldn't hang her, she'd throw May 
in and let her drown, just for the pleasure 
of seeing my face when her dead body 
was washed ashore." 

I saw Kathleen s brow grow ominously 

"It is shocking, shocking ! " she said. 
" Well, Kose, I suppose there is nothing 
more % " 

" Indeed, miss, and there is. She held 
poor May like that, and dipped her over 
and over again deep down into the freezing 
waters, till, what with the fright and 
the cold, she was almost dead ; then she 

My Connatcgkt Cousins. 8 


threw her on the ground like a clog, and 
told her to go home and tell me that Mrs 
Gregory had done it." 

" Do you know, Eose, this is action- 
able ? I think you must summon jMrs 
Gregory, and have her bound over to 
keep the peace." 

To my amazement, Eose trembled more 
violently than before. 

" No, no, I couldn't do that, miss," she 
exclaimed. " I couldn't go into a court. 
I — I'd sooner go right away." 

" Away from your home and country, 
do you mean ? " 

" I do, miss. Sure, what is home and 
country to me now ? I asked Michael 
to-night, and he said he was quite Tvilling 
— that it might be better for us to go 
to America. There's only the three of 
us, you know, miss ; we've got enough 
money to take us, and I'm sure Michael 
would get on." 

** Yes, I think he would," returned 

84 My Connaught Cousins, 

Kathleen. " And so you are willing to 
go, Michael ? " 

" I am, miss,'* said the man quietly ; and 
Kathleen rose to go. 

*' Well," she said, '' I will speak to my 
father about it, and we'll see what can 
be done. Meantime, I must put little May 
right for you. I'll give Shawn a parcel 
to leave here on his way home." 

Michael, as Kate had called him, offered 
to fetch the parcel himself, but Kate 
assured him it was not necessary. Shawn 
had to pass the cabin on his way home, 
and he might just as well leave it. Then 
we took our leave. 

" Kate," I said, when we were well clear 
of the cabin, " what has Mrs Gregory to 
do with these people ? " 

Kate answered my question with 

"What do you know about Mrs 
Gregory ? " she said. 

"Not much. I have met her twice 

My Connatight Cotcsins. 85' 

on the hills, I think, and to-day I saw 
her again, wildly abusing Shawn because 
the dogs had run through her potato 

"Ah, she is a terrible woman," said 
Kate ; " and the marvel to me is that 
she w^asn't shot dowTi lonoj ao^o like — but 
there, it is a long story, and a shocking 
story, Jack. I think, now you've seen 
Eose, Michael, and ]\Irs Gregory, I must 
tell it you, but not to-night." 

During the next three days we were 
too much occupied either for me to remind 
Kathleen of her promise, or for her to 
remember it. Conolly was summoned 
for assaulting the police, and but for my 
uncle's interference, it might have gone 
hardly with him ; as it was, he received 
the sentence of a fine — a tolerably heavy 
one — which my uncle paid, to the great 
disgust, as we learned afterwards, of jVIr 
O'NeH of the Castle. 

After this excitement was over, I re- 

86 My Connaught Cousins. 

minded Kathleen of her promise, and 
she told me the story of Kose Merton. 

" Yer honor, for the love of Almighty- 
God, lave me in peace this night. My 
poor wife is dying, sor — dying wid the 
fever that's come to her through lack o' 
food ; you'll never have the heart to do 
that thing this night ! " 

The speaker, a wild, gaunt, famine- 
stricken man clad in the wretchedest of 
rags, knelt on the ground, and almost 
kissed the feet of the man to whom he 
prayed. They were the centre figures of 
a large crowd of men, women, and children, 
some of them almost as ragged and spectre- 
like as the supplicant himself. The night 
was dark, the rain was falling, and the wind 
blew coldly upon the saturated rags which 
clung to their famished forms : the sky 
was jet black overhead, save here and 

My Connatight Cousins. Z'j 

there where the lightning played, but the 
faces of the crowd which had gathered 
around the miserable dwelling of James 
Merton were faintly illuminated by the 
hissincr and flarino; torches of boo; fir held 
on high by several hands. 

But the wild red light was strongest 
upon the two principal figures of the 
group ; James Merton, wild, ragged, and 
terror-stricken, crouching upon the ground ; 
Mr Gregory, the landlord, cold and im- 
passive as marble, towering above him. 

When the man made his piteous appeal, 
the woe-begone members of the crowd 
seemed to hush themselves and listen. 
What would the master reply ? Would he 
not show one grain of mercy, and leave 
this poor wretched creature a few hours 
of peace to comfort his dying wife ? They 
waited, but he said nothing : one glance 
into the cold marble-like face, showed them 
what he meant to do. 

Mr Gregory was by no means a popular 

88 My Connaught Cousins, 

landlord ; indeed his reign had been one 
of merciless tyranny — ever since he pur- 
chased the estate^ and came to dwell in 
Storport, now nearly twenty years before, 
the air had been full of wailing voices, 
and the churchyard rapidly filled with 
dead ; hundreds of his tenants had been 
turned into living cargo for the American 
ships ; while others had been left to die 
like beasts upon the road. His motto 
was pay, or go. When the rent was not 
forthcoming, the tenant w^as shipped off 
to try his fortune in foreign lands ; when 
the tenant could not be got to leave 
the hut, it was razed to the ground. 
This system of things had been in 
vogue, as I have said, for nigh upon 
twenty years, and still Mr Gregory 
lived, committing every year fresh out- 
rages, fresh cruelties ; but he had capjDed 
the most atrocious of his deeds that 
nisht, when he had ordered that the 
machine of his own invention should be 

My Connatight Cousins. 89 

carried down to unroof the miserable 
hut of James Merton. 

Merton was certainly the poorest man on 
the Storport estate ; he had begun life badly, 
with a piece of land which was devoid of 
all nutrition, and a hut which was likely at 
any moment to tumble about his ears ; be- 
sides this, he had a fragile, delicate wife, and 
a pretty, little delicate-looking daughter : but 
he was a hard-working, honourable man ; 
he tilled his bit of land, and managed every 
year to satisfy the demands of the landlord, 
voracious as they were. At last, however, 
he found he could do so no long;er. He 
looked at his wife one mornincr, and started 
as if he had looked upon the dead : he 
saw the truth. Every time he had laid 
his money upon Mr Gregory's table, he 
had laid there a drop from the life-blood 
of his wife. She had paid the landlord, 
but she was gradually but surely parting 
with her life. James Merton, rough man 
as he was, felt a choking sensation come 

90 My Cojtnaught Cousins, 

into his throat, and he bent above the 
turf sods which lay upon the floor, to 
hide a few scalding tears. He loved his 
wife. Unlike most Storport marriages, his 
had been a romantic one, since he had 
been content to take to his hearth a 
portionless girl, merely because he loved 
her : besides this want of dowry, it had 
been considered by almost every boy in 
Storport that Eose Monnaghan was not 
a desirable match. She was too delicate 
to work in the fields as other women 
did, or to go bare-footed and bare-headed 
to face every inclement season of the year : 
but it was these very facts which attracted 
James Merton, and made the great strong 
man love the girl who seemed to him like 
a delicate flower ; and Eose loved her 
husband, and was happy, save now and 
then when her delicate conscience smote 
her for having brought him no fortune 
as other girls brought to their husbands ; 
and when she reflected that she could not 

Afy Connaught Cousins, 91 

help him as they helped theirs by working 
in the fields, and carrpng home the house- 
hold turf. Still she tried to make up for it 
in other ways. She kept her hut as clean 
as a palace, she was handy at mending 
her husband's clothes, and when she found 
that their moderate income was insufl&cient 
to meet the demands, she quietly decided 
that since she was the helpless one she 
must be the one to suffer ; so although the 
stern landlord was satisfied, she felt that 
she was travelling slowly the downward 
path of life. When Merton discovered the 
sacrifice that she had made, he uttered no 
word, but instead of going to his work 
that morning, he walked over to the dis- 
pensary, and had a word with the doctor. 
Two days later Dr Maguire called at the hut, 
and before he left, he had ordered Eose 
Merton to eat meat and drink wine. 

Eat meat and drink wine ! where were 
they to come from ? Eose knew very well 
she could scarcely get milk to wash down 

92 My Connaught Cousins, 

the potatoes which were her only food. 
She ceased, therefore, to think of the 
doctor's advice : but her husband remem- 
bered it. 

When the rent day came, and the 
tenants, according to a rule established by 
Mr Gregory, went up to the Castle with 
their rent, Merton went with the rest ; 
his name being called, he entered the 
room which had been converted into a 
kind of office, and placed his little heap 
of silver on the table at which the 
landlord sat. Then he paused, looked at 
the stern face of his master, and turned 
about the hat which he held in his 

*' Well," said Mr Gregory, "have you 
anything to say to me ? " 

" I have, yer honor ! " 

" Out with it then. My time is precious, 
to-day ! " 

"Well, yer honor, 'tis just this; the 
rent o' the bit o' land that I have is a 

My Connaught Cotishts. 93 

heap too high ; yer honor, it is not 
worth what I have to pay ! " 

The landlord turned round and looked 
at his tenant. 

" My good man," he said, " allow me 
to tell you that the land is worth just 
as much as I can get for it. If you are 
not satisfied with it, leave it. I've no 
doubt I'd get a little more from some- 
body else ! " 

" 'Tis not that, yer honor," said 
Merton quietly. " I don't want to go, I 
only wanted to tell yer honor that the 
rent was high." 

" And how, may I ask, did you make 
that discovery ? " 

Merton paused for a moment : then he 
told the truth. He told how his poor 
wife had been starving herself in order 
to keep her husband right with the land- 
lord ; he told of the doctor's visit ; of the 
doctor's orders ; and he added, — 

"If yer honor would be so good as to 

94 -^y Connaitght Cousins. 

take down the rent, I could maybe get 
the things for my poor wife — " 

" Then make up your mind once and 
for ever, that I shall not do anything of 
the kind," interrupted Mr Gregory, im- 
patiently. *'If all my tenants got re- 
ductions on account of sickly wives, I 
wonder how my family would live ! No ! 
you must pay the rent, or go. As for 
your wife, I suppose the hospital or work- 
house is open to her as well as to others." 

He opened the door, hustled him out, 
and called in another. 

When the next pay day came round, 
Merton laid on the table just the half 
of his usual sum, and in answer to the 
landlord's look of astonishment, he said 

'' That's all I've got, yer honor 1 " 

'^ Then what do you mean to do ? — go ? '* 

" I do noty yer honor — plaise God, you 
shall have the rest of it the next time." 

But that time never came ; each pay 

My Coniiaught Cottsins. 95 

day Merton found he could only send 
about the half of his rent to the landlord ; 
so one day he was served with a summons, 
and a notice to quit. 

What was he to do ? The little sus- 
tenance which he was able to get for his 
wife had not been sufficient to eradicate 
the seeds of the disease which had been 
sown by years of insufficient food. Each 
day found her worse ; and when the 
summons and notice to quit were put 
into his hand, she was lying in the bed 
slowly dying of consumption. James 
Merton thought a while ; then he deter- 
mined to make one last appeal to his 
master. He quietly put the summonses 
in his pocket, and sat by the bedside 
holding between his the parched and 
feverish hand of his wife ; when she had 
fallen into a doze, he left his little 
daughter to watch her, and walked him- 
self up to the landlord's house. The 
family had just finished dinner, and when 

96 My Connaught Cousi7ts. 

Merton was shown into the dining-room he 
found Mr Gregory alone, still lingering over 
his nuts and wine. If Gregory had looked 
up, he would have seen that the man's 
face was white and haggard, and almost 
desperate in its agony — but he did not 
look up — he continued to crack his nuts, 
and sip his wine, and asked carelessly, — 

" Well, what is it ? " 

Morton drew the papers from his pocket 
and laid them on the table. 

" Does yer honor know," he asked, " that 
I have got these ? " 

" Of course ! " 

" And what does yer honor think that I 
can do ? " 

" You'll have to do exactly what those 
papers say — pay your rent or go ! " 

" Yer honor, I canH pay the rent ! " 

" Then you must go ! " 

" And I can't do that neither, yer honor ! " 

Mr Gregory went on carelessly cracking 
his nuts : 

Afy Connaiight Cousins. 97 

" It's no use coming to me with stories of 
that kind," he said, '' I'm used to them, 
therefore they make no impression upon 
me. You ought to know by this time I 
mean what I say — therefore, if you won't 
pay your rent, and won't give up possession 
of your hut, you'll be turned out neck and 
crop, that's all." 

"Yer honor," cried the man piteously, 
** think of my poor wife ! " 

" Think of your wife ! " returned the land- 
lord contemptuously. " If you had done 
that yourself she wouldn't be in my power 
to-day — she'd be lying in one of the wards 
of the workhouse ! There, get out, I've no 
more time to waste — I want to have a quiet 
evening ! " 

And before Merton could think of another 
word to say, he found that he had been 
hustled out of the house, and was walking 
dejectedly home again. 


98 My Connaught Cousins. 

These constant interviews with the land- 
lord were changing the man's whole nature, 
and as he walked home that day there was 
a desperate look about his eyes and mouth 
which showed the resolution he had taken. 
He meant to defy the landlord. He meant 
to let his suffering wife have at least the 
comfort of dying beneath her husband's 
roof, with her husband's hands to tend her, 
and his voice to soothe. 

During the next three days Merton had 
no time even to think of the landlord : his 
wife grew^ rapidly worse ; and it took all 
his care to alleviate the suffering which 
none could cure. 

At the end of three days he was reminded 
of his position by Mr Gregory himself, who 
looked in and asked him if he was ready to 
deliver up possession of his hut. For an- 
swer, Merton pointed to his wife. She lay 
upon the bed, worn to a skeleton ; her cheeks 

My Connaught Cousins. 99 

flushed with the fever which consumed 
her ; her eyes already dim with approaching 
death. She saw and heard ; and dying, as 
she was, her only thought was for her hus- 
band and child. 

" Yer honor," she murmured feebly, 
stretching out towards him her trembling 
hand, " don't be too hard on my husband, 
and my poor little motherless child. It will 
be right again for them when I am gone 

Without a word the landlord turned and 
left the cabin. 

Three days later he appeared again, on a 
wild inclement evening, which had been 
ushered in with biting winds and heavily 
falling rain. This time he was not alone : 
he had been through the village that day, 
collecting rent from some, serving pro- 
cesses on others, and razing to the ground the 
huts of those who could not be made to go. 

lOO My Connaught Cousins, 

Since he had come to Storport he had in- 
vented a machine which at one fell swoop 
could nnroof a cabin, and leave the 
helpless inmates at the mercy of wind 
and rain. The machine had committed 
ravages that day : it was night-fall be- 
fore it was set down near the hut of 
James Merton. 

For the most part of that day the poor 
fellow had sat like one in a terrible dream, 
watching the light of life gradually fade 
from the eyes of the wife he loved so well. 
When night fell, and he heard the murmur- 
ing of the crowd which gathered round 
his hut, he walked to the door, saw, and 
understood. With a low wail of terror 
and misery he staggered forward like a 
drunken man, and fell at his master s feet. 

" Yer honor ! " he moaned ; "for the love 
of God ! " 

But the landlord said nothing : he shook 

My Connaught Cousins, loi 

off the man as if he had been a reptile, and 
ordered his men to proceed. 

The evening had begun badly, but as 
every hour advanced it grew worse and 
worse. By this time the wind blew as bit- 
terly as any wind in winter, and the rain 
was mingled with large drops of hail. A 
wild night for those who had food and 
shelter — a pitiable one on which to unroof a 
hut above a d}dng woman's head. Yet it 
was done that night. Amidst the groans of 
the assembled crowd, and in spite of the 
piteous pleading of James Merton, the ma- 
chine was set to work, and in five minutes 
all that was left of the hut was four miser- 
able walls. 

When da^^Ti broke, over tracks of sodden 
bogland and a limitless expanse of sea, it 
showed James Merton sitting amongst the 
ruins of his hut beside the rain-drenched 

I02 My Connaught Cousins. 

corpse of his wife. Beside him was his 
little daughter, shivering in the saturated 
rags which hung about her, and gazing with 
wistful eyes at all she saw. For she was 
too young to understand ; she only knew 
that her home was a ruin, and that her 
mother was stiff and cold. 


Twelve years after the events chronicled 
above, amidst the glorious sunset of a lovely 
autumn day, a young girl, none other, indeed, 
than little Eose Merton, was walking slowly 
along the high road which led to Storport. 
Kose w^as now eighteen years of age. She 
was tall and shapely, with a pretty face, and 
large dark eyes, which, when they gazed at 
you straight, had a strange, wistful expres- 
sion — the very look which had been im- 
planted there that terrible night when she 

My Connaught Cousins. 103 

sat with her father among the ruined walls 
of her home. 

The sunset was glowing all round her ; 
making a picture of the dreary waste ; 
picking out the little clumps of purple 
heather, the great black turf stacks erected 
on the bog, and the ragged figures of men 
and women who toiled wearily over the 
wastes with creels upon their backs. But 
Eose, walking slowly along the road, looked 
neither to the right nor to the left, but 
kept her eyes fixed steadily upon the 
ground as if in deep thought. 

Suddenly a hand was placed upon her 
shoulder — she gave a half-stifled cry, turned 
round, and looked straight into the face of 
a man. 

" Michael ! " she gasped, trying to force a 
smile, and then she held out her hand. 

" Why, Eose, what a start I gave ye," said 
Michael Jamieson, taking her hand and 

I04 My Connaught Cousins, 

keeping it ; "I was cutting turf on the bog 
yonder when I saw ye pass, — but now I'm 
done. I mean to walk and have a talk 
with ye to-night. But first, Eose, darlin , 
won't you give me a kiss ? " 

Now, for the first time, the girl raised her 
eyes, and glanced keenly at the prospect 
about her ; then she answered quietly, with 
some nervousness and hesitation, — 

" Yes, Michael, if— if you like." 

" If I like ! " echoed Michael, putting his 
arm around her and kissing her pretty lips 
again and again ; " I should think I did 
like, Eose. . . . Why, mavourneen^' he 
added suddenly, " what's the matter ? Why 
do you turn your face away from me ? " 

The girl, still nervous and ill at ease, 
answered strangely, — 

" It's nothing — nothing — " 

They were walking side by side by this 
time ; again Eose's eyes were fixed wist- 

My Connatight Cousins, 105 

fully upon the ground. The young man 
was watching her face. 

" Eose," he said presently, " I'm in dread 
there's something on your mind. Of late 
ye haven't seemed like the bold, brave col- 
leen I used to know. Well, I know, you're 
sorely tried at home. Your father's too 
much in with the Eibbon boys, machree, 
and if he don't mind it's the young mashter 
that'll be turning him out of house and 
home ! " 

The girl started ; then she looked up with 
a smile. 

" Sure, hell never do that, Michael," she 

" Why not ? " 

She laughed rather nervously. 

" Never mind, but there's no fear of 
that ? " 

"Why not, Eose," asked her companion 
somewhat sternly. 

io6 My Connaughi Cousins. 

"Well — because — the masther has pro- 
mised to be his friend." 

He started and grew pale as a ghost. 

" Promised ! " he echoed ; " who has he 
promised ? " 

'* Me," returned the girl, growing more 
and more nervous. " I — I spoke to him." 

" You ! " echoed the man, now paler than 
before ; ''you spoke to the young mashter ? " 

*' Sure, there was no harm ! " returned 
Eose. '' Yes, Michael, I spoke to him, and 
oh, you don't know how kind he is 1 " 

" He's a heap too kind when a pretty 
girl comes near him." 

" That's nonsense, Michael." 

" I don't know," returned the young 
fellow. ** I've heard tales ; but there, what 
a fool I am, as if I couldn't trust you 
to speak wid the dioul himself. Don't 
mind me, Eose, 'tis only my jealous way. 
I'll behave better when I've got ye all to 

My Connaught Cousins. 107 

myself. Eose, darlin," he added, bending a 
bit nearer to her, ** when's the day to be ? " 

" What day, Michael ? " 

** As if you didn't know ; why our mar- 
riage day — to be sure ! " 

The girl gently withdrew her hand from 

" Don't talk about that," she said. 

" But I must talk about it, Eose. You've 
put me off long enough, and you can't say 
I haven't been patient. Come, look me 
in the face, macliree. Why should you be 
ashamed ? We've been lovers ever since 
we were children, and some day soon we 
must be something more." 

But the girl positively shuddered. 

" 'Tis folly to talk of it," she said, " least 
of all noiv" 

" Why not now, Eose ? " 

" Because the world and God are both 
against us. You know I've got no fortune, 

io8 My Connaught Cousins, 

not so much as a hen ; and you — you are 
poorer than ever now." 

The young man smiled, — 

*' Don't you know what the song says ? " 
he answered lightly, " * Sure poverty's no 
sin ! ' I don't want your fortune, darlin', I 
want but you ; and as to myself, sure enough 
I'm poor, but I feel if I had but got you 
by my fireside to help and comfort me I 
could do the work of three." 

'• Ah, that's what they all say before 
they marry ; but afterwards it's all sorrow 
and tears. No, Michael, it can't be. I've 
seen too much of it. Look all round us. 
Sure there's nothing but trouble and 
hunger, and every hut has got more mouths 
than it can feed. Why should we marry, 
to make one more wretched home ? " 

" Kose ! " 

" Well, Michael." 

"I don't think them words came out of 

My Connaicght Cousins. 109 

your right heart. Something has changed 
you. Some rascal has been turning you 
against me ! " 

" No, no, Michael," cried the girl hur- 
riedly, '' 'tis not that." 

" But it is. I've seen it a lonor time 
back. IVe said little, but it made my heart 
bleed. Rose, a little while ao-o vou didn't 
look like that or talk as you talk now, 
and you used to be as bright as a May 
mornin', and as kind as a colleen could 
be. Eose, what has changed you ? why 
do you shrink away when I put my arm 
around you, and tremble when I kiss your 
cheek ? Oh, Rose, Rose, I've loved you 
ever since I could think or dream what love 
meant, and are you goin' to leave me now ? " 

Pale and tremulous the girl turned 
towards him and put her little hands in 
his ; it was an impetuous movement, which 
told him he had touched her heart. 

no My Connaught Cousins. 

" Michael," she cried, almost sobbing, ** I 
love you — God knows I love you ! " 

He took her hands, held them firmly in 
his, and looked steadily into her eyes. 

" You love me," he said ; " me, and 
no other ? " 

" You and no other, dear," answered 
the girl, not flinching from his gaze ; 
*' but, oh, Michael," she added, quietly 
drawing her hands away, " don't let us 
think of it, we — we're too poor. God is 
against us ! " 

" God's never against true lovers, Eose," 
answered the young fellow steadily ; " and 
if your heart's not changed, 'tis His will 
that we should come together." 

" Ah, no, no ! " 

" Eose ! " 

** I — I can't bear it, Michael. I can't 

face it," cried the girl, now almost sobbing. 

* I'm not like other girls ; I think I'm too 

My Connaught Cousins. 1 1 1 

weak, and you'll say I'm a coward, but 
I know what poverty means. Michael, 
listen to me. Don't be angry, but listen. 
Suppose I could help you a thousand times 
better by not marrying you, suppose I 
could keep not only you, but father, and 
everybody in Storport from poverty and 
trouble, and all by not marrying you, 
what would you say to that ? " 

The young fellow stared at her in blank 

" What do you mean ? " he asked ; " I 
don't rightly understand." 

The girl turned away her head. 

*' Nothing," she answered ; *' I mean 
nothing ; I'm silly, and don't know what 
I'm saying ! " 

" Kose," said Michael solemnly, taking 
her hands and forcing her to look at him, 
** tell me, swear to me, you don't love 
another man ? " 

112 My Connaught Cousins. 

'' I don't." 

** Swear it ! " he repeated, almost fiercely, 
" Well then, Michael, I swear it." 
" Then if that's true, kiss me, Eose, and 
speak not another word o' sorrow or 
parting. I see what it is, your father has- 
been bringing trouble to the house, and 
your heart is a bit down. It was the 
trouble that spoke, not my own Eose. 
Kiss me again, mavourneen, better times- 
will come ; they must come ; but never say 
they'll come to us two apart ; for without 
you my life would be wasted, and my 
heart w^ould break ! " 

He folded his arms around her and held 
her close, kissing her cheek and lips, and 
Eose, clinging to him as if for protection, 
shed a few silent tears. The bright glow 
of sunset had faded, and the prospect all 
round was growing as sombre as the black- 
looking bog. The lovers walked on, hand- 

My Connaught Cousins. 1 1 3 

in-hand until thev reached the hut which 
was Michael's home. There they paused, 
and he asked Eose to come in, but the 
girl shook her head. 

" Not to - night, Mchael," she said ; 
" good-bye." 

" Good-bye ! No, I mane to go along 
home with you." 

Aofain the o^irl's agitation returned. 

" No, no," she said ; '* not to-night. I 
— I've a message — I must go alone ; but 
you may meet me to-morrow." 

" You wish it, darlin ? " 

" Yes, I do ! " 

" Then so it shall be ; your will is law 
to me. I'll trv and find out what's doins: 
among the boys ; mischief, I'm afraid. 
Good-night, Rose — good-night." 

One kiss and then they parted ; Rose 
walking quickly across the bog until she 
reached her home. 


114 ^^y Co7tnaught Cousins, 


The only home which Eose Merton had 
ever known was a wretched hovel, built 
of moss-covered stones and nmd, and roofed 
with sods of turf. It contained but one 
room, which was clean and neat, for Eose 
had inherited her mother's cleanliness as 
well as her beauty. The hut was empty ; 
so before sitting down to indulge in reflec- 
tions, Eose set about preparing her father's 
supper. Her first care was to remove her 
bonnet and shawl, and tie. on a large 
apron of coarse hoUand ; then she stood 
for a moment before the old cracked 
looking-glass which was nailed up to the 
wall, to arrange her pretty black hair. 
Then she set to work. She knocked to- 
gether the few sods of turf which lay 
smouldering on the hearth, filled the black 
cauldron with potatoes, lifted it on to the 

Aly Connaiight Cottsins, 1 1 5 

hook which dangled at the end of the 
thick black chain suspended from the 
rafters, and her task was done. While 
she waited for the potatoes to boil, she 
sat down on the form which stood near 
the fire and began to think. 

First she thought of Michael, and of 
the interview which she had just had 
with him ; then she thought of young Mr 
Gregory, the master of Storport. 

It was now some time since the young 
man, attracted by the girl's pretty face 
and gentle manners, had been secretly 
paying his court to her. At first Eose, 
though certainly flattered by the young 
master's attentions, had quietly resisted him, 
for she had promised to marry Michael 
Jamieson, as handsome and as hard-work- 
ing a boy as there was in Storport, but 
afterwards, after much mental deliberation, 
Eose's mind gradually changed. She knew 

ri6 My Co7inanght Cotcsins. 

that despite his steady, hard work, Michael 
Jamieson was excessively poor, having 
scarcely enough to feed himself and his 
old mother who lived with him; there- 
lure it was an indiscreet thing; to ask in 
marriage a portionless girl like herself. 
Besides, she had been somewhat delicately 
nurtured, and was therefore not a fit help- 
mate for a Storport boy. She had never 
been accustomed to work in the fields ; 
])ut by dint of her own sharpness, and 
a taste for sewing, she had managed to 
gain a little knowledge of dressmaking. 
In pursuit of this occupation she went 
about from hut to hut, picking up a few 
shillings or a meal, and sometimes she 
went for a few days to Ballyshanrany 
to work for my cousins. But Eose had 
never been able to save and accumu- 
late a fortune like other girls, for her 
father's hut and wretched plot of land were 

Aly Connaught Cousins. 1 1 7 

heavily rented, and her father spent a good 
deal in drink. Besides the grim pinch ot" 
poverty, there were other things which 
made her gradually look less coldly upon 
the attentions of the master. « The feeliuLi" 
of revolt against want and wretchedness, 
which was gradually spreading over Ireland, 
had already touched Storport — the village 
was known to hold a band of Kibbonmen 
in its heart ; and Kose felt toleraVjly sure 
that the leading spirit of the band was 
her own father. 

At the rising of the people she was not 
astonished ; they were desperate men — 
turned almost into beasts by years of 
cruel oppression, and now they rose up, 
like gaunt spectres from the grave, pre- 
pared to strike for home and kindred. 
Rose was terrified, and for the first tiin<* 
she asked herself, — 

" Why should I not listen to the mas- 

1 1 8 My Connaught Cousins. 

ter ? If I were to marry him I could 
save them all ! " 

It was the first time she had put her 
thoughts into words, and the words shocked 
her. For she loved Michael Jamieson, and 
she did not love Mr Gregory ; therefore, 
it required a good deal of mental delibera- 
tion to bring her round to the thought 
of marrying him. Nevertheless, the de- 
cision was ultimately arrived at. Eose 
determined to sacrifice herself for the good 
of her people. 

Suddenly, however, her plans were again 
rudely razed to the ground ; for since that 
interview with Michael — since she had read 
his thoughts and had been prompted to 
look into her own heart, she knew that 
if she stretched forth her hand to save 
her people, her own heart would break. 
So now she set to work again to think 
it all over, and wonder what she must do. 

Aly Connaught Cousins. 119 

Before she had arrived at any decision, 
her father came in. 

Those twelve years which had come 
and gone had wrought a wondrous changes 
in James Merton. His body was bent, 
his head snow^- white, and his face was 

" You are late, father," said Rose, putting 
her arm gently round his neck and kissing 
him. Then she turned out the stemming 
potatoes, and the two sat down and be- 
gan to eat. 

''Father," said Rose, presently. 

** Well, Rose ? " 

" I think I've got some good work 
cominor. ]\Xiss Kathleen was tellinor nie 
to-day that Mrs Gregory w^anted a seams- 
tress, and that she had recommended me." 

The man raised his head, and glared 
at her like a w^ild beast. 

" Mrs Gregory ! " he exclaimed. 

I20 My Connaught Cousins, 

'' Yes, in troth." 

" Then you won't go — do you hear me, 
Kose, you won't go ! " 

" Not go ! " said Eose, in astonishment ; 
"why not, father?" 

" Because I say so ! " returned the man 
fiercely. " Her clothes may rot before 
my daughter saves them ! " 

To this the girl said nothing. She rose 
and began to quietly put away the things, 
and as she did so, the tears ran slowly 
down her cheeks. Her father saw them ; 
he put out his hand, and said gently, — 

" Kose, machree, come here." 

She went to him ; he put his arms 
about her — drew her gently to his breast, 
and with his coarse hand smoothed back 
her silken hair. 

" Rosie," he said, " my little Rosie, you 
mustn't think on what I say. I'm not 
the man I was, darlin'. These hard times 

]\ly Con7iaught Coicsins, 121 

that are coming to us kiocl o' stir up the 
old sorrow, and sometimes I think I'm 
livin' through it all ao;ain." 

"Dear father," said Rose, as she clung 
to him, crying a little, and he kissed her 
tenderly again, as he said, — 

"Eosie, I've been thinkin' o' your poor 
mother to-day. 'Twas through old Mr 
Gregory that she died. You don't re- 
member it ; you were too young. Rose, 
but he unroofed the house when she was 
dying. Sure he's dead now, and I try 
to forgive — but I can't forget." 

Then Rose heard the story of her mother's 
death, and her father's wrongs. Shortly 
after James Merton left her to think it 
over alone. 

Half-an-hour after her father had left the 
hut. Rose Merton threw a shawl over her 
head and went out too, carefully closing 
the door behind her. It was quite dark, 

122 My Co7inaught Cousins. 

but she knew every inch of the ground 
which she had to traverse, and could have 
found her way blindfold. 

She went straight across the bog, until 
she found herself standing in a sequestered 
part of the road. Here she paused to 
listen — there was no sound — then she 
commenced to walk slowly up and down. 
Presently her quick ear detected the sound 
of other footsteps. She drew aside ; the 
footsteps came nearer and nearer ; ap- 
parently she recognised them at last, for 
she came from her hiding-place and went 

" Eose, is it you ? " asked a man's voice, 
in a half whisper. 

And the girl tripping forward, replied, — 

'' Yes, sir, it is I." 

The next moment she felt herself in 
the close embrace of the young master 
of Storport. 

My Connatight Coicsins. 123 

" My pretty little Rose," he said, " I'm 
late, infernally late ; but you've no idea 
what trouble I've had to get away at all. 
But now, I am here, 'tis all right. Come, 
give me my reward." 

Instead of holding up her cheek as usual 
for his careless kiss, Eose turned her head 
away, and struggled to free herself from 
his embrace. 

" Don't, sir, if you please," she said. 

" Why, what's the matter ? " said the 
young man, astonished. " Ai"e you angry 
with me for delaying so long, Eose ? Come, 
come, be reasonable, and give me the kiss 
of forgiveness." 

But still she struo-orled and resisted. 

" Sir, will you let me go ? " she 
cried ; " some one is comino; along; the 

" Nonsense 'tis only the wind howling. 
Why, Eose, how cold your little hands 

124 ^y Connaught Cousins. 

feel. You're not warmly enough clad 
for such weather as this." 

" Sure, I'm not cold," returned the girl 
uneasily, withdrawing her hands, as she 
had withdrawn her body, from his em- 
brace. ''But I — I want to speak to 

" Want to speak to me ? wdiy, of course 
you do," returned the young man, with 
a light laugh; ''and as to myself, why, 
I've a thousand things to say. Before 
I left home to-night I was in a devil of 
a temper. But there, I don't mean to 
talk about that or what caused it, for 
I'm quite comfortable now. Eose, take 
my arm." 

" In troth, sir, I'd rather walk alone." 

" Take my arm ; I insist ! " 

" No, sir, 'tis not right. You're a 
gentleman, and I'm but a poor girl. We 
must never meet again." 

Aly Comiaught Cousins. 125 

" Hullo ! " he echoed, iu amazement. 

" It's true, sir," persisted the girl. '•' I 
came here to-night to tell you that same." 

" Rubbish ! " returned the young man 
carelessly. " You came here to-night, 
you little witch, to give me a few kisses, 
as you've often done before. Certainly 
I'm a gentleman, as you say, and you're 
not a fine lady ; but for all that I love 
you, and I mean to indulge my whim. 
Poor ! There's nothing money can buy 
which you shall not have, — fine dresses, 
carriages, servants to wait upon you. 
And when you are clothed as your beautv 
deserves, show me the lady who'll look 
half as handsome as my little Eose ! " 

Again he attempted to embrace her ; 
again the girl put up her hand to keep 
him away. 

" Oh, sir, don't talk like that," she cried 
pleadingly ; "it was words like them 

126 My Connaught Cotisins. 

that first made me listen to you, and do 
all the harm I've done. I thought — God 
forgive me — 'twould be nice to be a 
fine lady, for then I could help my 
father, and some of the poor creatures 
here ; but now, I know I couldn't do it ; 
it would break my father's heart." 

" Your father ! what's he been saying — 
have you told him ? " 

*'In troth, sir, I have not. But to- 
day he was tellin' something to me. 
Sir, Mr Gregory — it was your father that 
unroofed our hut, and left my mother 
to die of cold." 

The young man paused for a moment 
before he replied. 

**Yes," he said, "I believe he did; 
it wasn't a pleasant thing to do ; but 
whether or not, I don't see how that is to 
affect us. You can't blame me for what 
my father did. If every man was made 

My Connaught Cousins. 127 

answerable for the sins of his relations, 
heaven knows how the world would get 

" No, sir, I'm not blaming you ; I'm 
only telling you that I can never meet 
you again, because it would break my 
father's heart. Xow, sir, if you please, 
good-night. Let me go home." 

" No," said the young man firmly, 
" you shan't go — not at least till you've 
promised to meet me again." 

" I can't promise, sir. In troth, I 
mustn't come — my mind's made up." 

" Absurd ! you know I love you." 

" Indeed, sir," returned the girl sadly, 
" I'm very, very sorry. I humbly beg 
your pardon for making you think that 
I liked you ; but when you are with 
your own friends you'll soon forget me. 

He rushed towards her with outstretched 

128 My Connaztgkt Cousins. 

arms, and some passionate words upon his 
lips ; when he was startled by heavy 
footsteps on the road. He paused for 
a moment. During that moment Eose 
passed into the darkness, and disap- 


While Eose Merton had been having 
her interview with the young master of 
Storport, the young man himself was 
receiving his sentence of death. In a 
large underground kitchen, in the house 
of the widow Timlin, about half-a-dozen 
men were seated — wild, worn-out, ragged- 
looking creatures, who gazed at each other 
in strange intensity, and talked in low, 
deep tones. They were all tenants on 
the Storport estate — James Merton, and 
Conolly Magrath being amongst the num- 
ber — while in the kitchen was the widow 

My Connaught Cousins, 129 

Timlin herself, a phlegmatic spectator of 
all that was taking place. The men 
crowded close together — shoeing, in the 
dimly-lighted chamber, faces of ghastly 
pallor — for the time being all their eyes 
were turned upon one member of the 
band ; the very man who had been sent 
as an emissary to Mr Gregory, and who 
had succeeded in putting that young 
gentleman into such a temper before he 
went to meet Kose. Slowly and methodi- 
cally the man told his tale. 

" Well boys," he said, " I went up to 
the Castle, and I saw the mashter hisself. 
I told him the truth. I asked him, for 
the love of God, to take down the rents 
a bit, because we were all shtarvin'. 
He was just about leavin the house, 
so he kicked me out o' his road as though 
I'd been a dog — tould me to go to the 
agent, and tried to get away. But I 
VOL, m. 1 

130 My Connaught Cousins. 

didn't let him go. I laid hould on him, 
and he had to listen." 

The man paused a moment, for he 
was trembling excessively, and though his 
manner was stolid, he was evidently 
much excited. Mrs Timlin, who had 
been smoking her pipe in a corner, came 
forward, poured out a glass of whisky, 
and pushed it towards him. 

" Drink it off, Toney," she said, " and 
let us hear all that the black-hearted 
rascal had to say." 

The man took her advice, and went on. 

" He warn't over pleased at bein' held, 
Mrs Timlin," said he to the widow, 
who fixed her black eyes upon him, 
and nodded her wild head to encourage 
him. "And when I told him that we 
was all shtarvin'," — he said, so much the 
better for himself, it was only clearing 
his estate of so many vagabonds that 

My Coiinaiight Cotisins. 131 

was bringin it lower and lower every 
year. " 

A groan -went through the company, 
and Mrs Timlin's face looked positively 

" Bad cess to his black heart ! " said 
she ; " go on, Toney." 

" I tould him w^e'd all prayed to the 
agent in vain, and that now, speakin' 
for all of us, I went to him. I becrored 
him for the love of Almighty God to 
come and see for himself if my tale 
was true. Boys, he struck me, and 
kicked me as if I had been a brute 
baste, and when I stao-orered back almost 
blinded w^id his blow% he laughed, and 
walked away ! ' You'll starve quietly in 
future, my friend,' said he ; ' and when 
you're all over seas — w^hich would be 
the best place for you — perhaps I shall 
get a little peace on my estate.' " 

132 My Connaught Cousins, 

There was a moment of dead silence ; 
then a murmur ran round the room. 
Before any definite words were spoken, 
James Merton rose, — 

"Boys," he said, "/ want to say a 
few words to you now. You all re- 
member, ^Y^ years ago, you wanted me 
to be the man to put a bullet through 
the young masther's head ; and when I said 
* No,' you thought me a coward, because 
you knew I'd good cause to hate the 
very name of Gregory. Well, so I had, 
God knows, and so I have got now. 
They've treated me worse nor the brute 
bastes o' the field; and if I'd done 
right by myself, I should ha' turned 
my back on the lot o' them, and gone 
straight away to Amerikey the day I 
laid my poor wife in the ground. I 
tried to do it, but I couldn't ; I just 
went to the mashter, and begged him 

My Connaught Cousins. 133 

to take me back. What did he say ? 
Though he knew that my poor wife had 
died for lack 0' food, and because he 
knew it would break my heart to lave 
the only bit o* land that I loved in 
the world, — he said, 'Yes, take your hut 
and land, James Merton ; but you'll 
pay the old rent ! ' Well, I was eager 
to get the bit o' land, so I said, ' Yes/ 
I took it, and from that day till the 
day he died I paid him the rent ; though 
God alone knows what I've gone through 
to do it. That night he died, I thanked 
Almighty God. Then you came to me, 
and proposed that I should send the 
young mashter along wid him ; but I 
said *No,' — I'd got a daughter of my ^ 
own, and I thought of his poor mother, 
and I couldn't bring my hand to strike 
at an innocent man. I said to myself, 
' Sure he can't help what his father did ; 

134 ^y Connaught Cousins, 

maybe he's got a heart, and will make 
amends.' I waited, and I soon found I 
was wrong — he was worse than his father ; 
and when I looked every day on my 
miserable neighbours, my heart bled. You 
thought old James Merton was a coward ; 
you thought he hadn't a heart for ye ; 
but I'll tell ye what he did — he went 
up boldly, and spoke to the young 
mashter, and he got — just what Toney 
got to-day — sent out o' the house as 
if he had been a dog. So now I see 
what it's goin' to be — starvation and 
misery ; and I say, * Death to the tyrant 
wid the black heart that is sending us 
all to the grave ! ' " 

Amidst a low murmur of approval, 
Merton paused ; a good deal of lively 
discussion followed ; at the end of it Mrs 
Timlin, who had been busily at work 
in a corner of the room, came forward 

My Connaught Cousins. 135 

with a little box which she placed in the 
middle of the table. Every man present 
knew what that meant. Before dipping 
their hands into the box, they paused in 
strange hesitation. Mrs Timlin bared 
her brown ^Tist, and without waiting for 
the others, thrust her hand into the box. 

" I mane to have the first pull," she 
said, *' plase God, I get the lucky number." 

Amidst a silence which was almost 
death-like, she drew forth her hand again ; 
this time her fingers were closed over a 
slip of paper. The box was handed 
round ; each man drew his piece forth, 
then the box was placed on one side, 
and the men showed their numbers. A 
piece of paper marked with a black 
cross had passed into the hand of James 

The man started, and as his eye rested 
upon the mark, his cheek grew ashen grey. 

136 My Connaught Cousins. 

But he quickly pulled himself together and 
shook the hands of his comrades, one and all, 
and by that token he accepted the solemn 
trust which he knew he must fulfil. 

During the fortnight which ""^ followed 
that eventful night, there was little 
peace and no happiness beneath James 
Merton's roof. He drank much whisky ; 
he took scarcely any food ; he looked the 
very ghost of what he once had been, 
and when his daughter spoke of this and 
tried to learn the cause, he turned upon 
her and fiercely bade her be at peace. 
If James Merton had been less occupied 
with what he himself had planned to do, 
he would have noticed the change that 
was taking place in Kose. Since that 
night when she had said her last farewell 

My Coiinaught Cousuis. 137 

to Mr Gregory slie had never beheld him, 
but she knew that things in the village 
were growing worse and worse, and she 
wondered if she herself was the cause. 
The agent was harder than ever on the 
tenants, and he acted, he said, under JVIr 
Gregory's express commands. 

Whole families were evicted ; others 
were cast into prison, and some after 
having their houses razed to the ground 
before their eyes, had actually starved upon 
the roadside. The people said nothing, 
but one morning young Mr Gregory was 
astonished to receive his sentence of death. 
The young gentleman turned pale for a 
moment, and, when a little later his agent 
came up for orders, he handed him the 

" Say nothing to my mother," he said, 
" or she'll worry herself unnecessarily. 
Of course I shall send for a guard of 

138 My Connaught Cousins, 

police for the Castle, and I shall order 
one to follow me wherever I go, so I 
shall be all right. It must be your task 
to see that these ruffians suffer for having 
dared to send me this." 

So the agent went off to obey his master, 
while the young master, with characteristic 
recklessness, began to think once more of 
Eose Merton. 

Since that night when she had bade 
him farewell, he had done little else but 
think of her. Indeed, he was devising 
all sorts of means to obtain his end. He 
had even planned a false marriage, and 
subsequent desertion, when his difficulties 
were suddenly solved by Eose herself. 
She sent to him and begged for another 
meeting. The young man smiled ; having 
got exactly what he had been longing 
for, he ceased to attach so much value 
to it ; he only thought that since she had 

My Connaught Cousins, 139 

been the one to give in, his task would 
be the easier. 

At the time and place which she men- 
tioned, he went to meet her, followed by 
the constable, his bodyguard. He found 
her waiting, obedient, respectful, and 
prettier than ever. But when he came 
nearer, he saw that she was pale and 
sad-looking, and he attributed this change 
to sorrow for himself. 

He went up to her and took her hands, 
and before she could say a word or do 
anything to resist him, he had thrown his 
arms about her and kissed her fondly. Rose 
disengaged herself from his embrace. 

" Sir, — Mr Gregory," she said " sure, 
it wasn't for that I came here to-night. I 
wanted to speak to ye me own self about 
the poor creatures in the village." 

The young man frowned, and angrily 
bit his lip. 

140 My Connaught Cousins. 

*' A deal of love you must have for 
me, Eose," he said, " if you come to plead 
their cause. Do you know they have 
threatened to shoot me % " 

" Yes, sir, sure, I know that same." 
"" And you've come to say they'll do it 
if I don't give in, I suppose ; well, let me 
tell you, my darling, I don't mean to 
give in. And as for the threat sent to 
me, I have instructed my agent to see 
that every man in the village is made 
to suffer for it." 

*' Sir, you haven't done that 1 " 
** I have, and I hope he'll carry out my 

" Oh, sir, you surely haven't the heart 
to do a thing like that. Sure, they're 
harmless enough, and they don't want 
to harm you — all they want is to save 
their wives and little children, who are 
just starvin' for lack o' bread." 

My Connaught Cousins. 141 

" Let them starve ! Eose, listen to me. 
I want to speak to you. Have you re- 
considered your last decision — you know 
I love you, Eose, and would willingly share 
my home with you ? " 

" Oh, sir," cried the poor girl, " I — I 

" Eose, don't say that — remember I'm 
not a man to be thwarted — and it would 
be better for you to keep me your friend 
than make an enemy of me. Eose, would 
you still say * No ' if I offered even to 
make you my wife ? " 

He was thinking of that false marriage 
which he had planned, but of course Eose 
knew nothing of this, and he expected 
her face to be suddenly illuminated at 
the brilliant prospect of becoming the 
master's bride. To his surprise, however, 
Eose stared at him in amazement. 

" Your wife 1 " she echoed ; " and did 

142 My Connaught Cousins, 

you not mean to make me your wife all 
along ? " 

" Our positions are so different," said the 
young man uneasily, " I thought we might 
have been happy enough without marriage. 
There, do not be angry — do not turn away 
— I'll marry you in defiance of all the world, 
I tell you, rather than give you up." 

" Sir, let me go ! " she cried indignantly, 
trying to free herself from the arms which 
he had thrown around her. 

" No — ^be reasonable, Kose, hear me ! " 

He held her tightly to him — but she 
still struggled. 

" I've heard enough, Mr Gregory ! God 
forgive me for meeting you at all ! But 
I'm warned in time. Don't hold me, sir, 
for I won't stay ! " 

" But I say you shall stay ! " returned the 
young man fiercely ; " who are you to fight 
against me, the master of Storport — since 

My Con7iaught Cotisins. 143 

you won't come with me willingly, you 
shall come unwillingly ! I won't be made 
a fool of for nothing ! " 

He put his hand over her mouth to 
stifle a scream, and would have dragged 
her away ; when suddenly he felt a heavy 
hand seize him by the collar and roughly 
hurl him aside : he staggered across the 
road: while Eose Merton, kept from falling 
by the same firm hand which had hurled off 
her assailant, looked up, and encountered 
the gaze of Michael Jamieson. The young 
fellow's face was quite composed, but his 
cheeks were very pale; he looked half 
sadly, half reproachfully at the girl, but he 
did not utter a word. Meanwhile Mr 
Gregory had recovered himself — wdth a face 
crimson with rage he came up to the pair who 
stood confronting each other in the road. 

" Who is this fellow ? " he asked roughly. 

Michael Jamieson still looked at the girl. 

144 ^y Connaught Cousins, 

" Eose Merton," said he, paying no atten- 
tion whatever to the words of the master, 
" it's late for a young colleen to be out on 
the roads alone. You'd best get home ! " 

But the girl trembling violently put up 
her hands in supplication. 

'' Oh, Michael," she cried, " don't be 
angry ! " 

'' I'm not angry," he returned quietly ; 
** but do you go home ! " 

"That she shall notV burst in young 
Gregory ; *' who are you that order her — 
what's your right over her ? " 

" The right of an honest man, that won*t 
see her put upon by a villain ! " 

*' Fair words, you rascal — " 

**I've found out," continued the young 
fellow, preserving that sang froid which 
gave him a wonderful advantage over his 
opponent, "never mind how, that you've 
been paying your court to Eose Merton ; 

My Connaught Cousins. 145 

and when I happened to see the two o' you 
come together to-night, I thought Td watch ; 
for I'm her friend, and her father's friend, 
and I mane to see she comes to no harm. 
Eose," he continued, turning again to the 
girl, who still stood pale and tremulous 
before him, ** go you home, and leave me 
to speak wid this man alone !" 

But the girl again put out her hand 
towards him. 

" Michael," she said, "sure I can't leave 
you here after me ; come with me too ! " 

" Whoever you are," burst in young 
Gregory again, " you shall not stand be- 
tween her and me. No one shall ; confound 
you, man, stand aside, or I'll make you ! " 

" I won't shtir ; that's your road, sir, this 
is hers ! " 

*• Then take that ! " 

He lifted the cane which he held in his 
hand, and struck him across the face. Rose 
screamed. Michael struck the cane from his 
master's hand, and they closed in a fierce 


146 My Connaught Cousins, 

embrace ! By this time the policeman, who 
was ever on the track of the young man, 
and who had consequently been a witness of 
all that had taken place, thought it about 
time that he should interfere. He came 
forward, and pulled the men asunder. 

" Hullo ! " he said, " what's all this ? " 

" This ruffian has assaulted me ! " cried 

" Are you hurt, sir ? " 

" No, not in the least." 

The man laid his hand on Michael's 

"Shall I lock him up, yer honor?" he asked. 

But Eose Merton suddenly stepped for- 
ward, and almost threw herself at the 
master's feet. 

" Mr Gregory," she cried, *' no ! no ! " 

He hesitated for a moment, then he re- 
plied, — 

"No, you may let him go ! I struck him 
first, and, after all, I've got it in my power 
to punish him in my own fashion. You 

My Connaught Coicsins. 147 

scoundrel," he added, turning to Michael, 
" Rose shall fare no better for your in- 
solent interference, I promise you ! Good- 
night, Rose." 

He kissed the tips of his fingers, and 
walked off", while Michael, struggling in the 
arms of the policeman, cried, — 

" The black-hearted villain ; if he dares 
to look at Rose Merton again, before God, 
ni have his life ! " 

" Keep still," said the man, holding him 
firmly ; " and as for you, my girl " (turning 
to Rose), "you'd best be ofi"; sure, you've 
caused trouble enough already." 

" Michael," asked the girl humbly, " shall 

I go?" 

" Yes, go." 

*• Then — then, good-night, Michael." 

" Good-night." 

She lingered for a moment, half hoping 
he would say more, but he did not, so she 
accepted her punishment, and walked quietly 
away ; but once she was out of sight and 

148 My Connaught Cousins, 

hearing, she sat down upon the road-side 
and cried bitterly. 

Michael tried to take the road which 
Mr Gregory had taken before him, but the 
policeman stopped him. 

" Come, not that way ! " he said. 

** Don't be afraid, I'm cool now ! " 

" All the better for you ; but all the 
same, you'd best get home and sleep it 

During the few days that followed, Kose 
Merton neither saw nor heard anything of 
her lover. She went to her work every 
day, but when she returned at night there 
was no sign of him upon the road ; nor did 
he come to the hut, as had been his custom, 
to spend a few of the evening hours with 
her. It was evident he had not forgiven 
her, she thought, and so she sat at home, 
watching and waiting — the picture of misery 
and despair. 

But Kose was wrong. Michael loved her 

My Co7inaught Cousins. 149 

too well to hold out against her ; but he 
had other things to occupy his mind, for, 
true to his promise, young Gregory was 
punishing him in his own fashion. The 
very day following the attack on Mr 
Gregory, Michael Jamieson had been served 
with a summons for rent, which was only 
just due, together with an intimation that 
from that day forth his rent would be 
raised, which was equal to a notice of 
ejectment. He had received them both 
without a word of protest, but he began 
at once to think what he must do. He 
had not much time to lose, since he was 
to answer both at the sessions, which were 
regularly held on the day of the monthly 
fair at Gulranny. 


The Gulranny Fair, which was held on 
the first day of October 18 — , was destined 
to be a day made memorable to every 

150 My Connaught Cousins, 

tenant of Storport. From dawn the little 
village was astir, for nearly all the inhabi- 
tants had to journey to the town, to drive 
in their remaining live stock for sale, and 
answer the summonses which had been 
served upon them. Gulranny lay some 
ten Irish miles from Storport, therefore 
the foot passengers had to start early, in 
order to be there to meet the agent before 
the opening of the court. It was quite 
nine o'clock, however, when my cousin 
Kate, standing at the Lodge door, saw the 
agent drive along, attended by his escort 
of police, and take the Gulranny road, 
and about half-an-hour later Kate was 
called to the door again, she said, by 
one of the girls, to see the grand car and 
pair of horses, running tandem, which young 
Mr Gregory was driving into Gulranny. 
His mother was seated with him on the 
car, as well as a man-servant, and a police- 
man in plain clothes. For though, since 
the receipt of the warning, no attack had 

My Connaught Cousins, 151 

been made upon young Gregory's life, he 
deemed it prudent to keep his bodyguard 
in case of danger. 

'* During that morning," continued Kate 
as she told me the story, " I had to make 
a few calls upon my patients. I was struck 
by the strange silence aod deserted look 
of the village, and a sort of terror crept 
over me ; a kind of foreboding, I think, of 
what was to take place. After I had paid 
my visits, I took a walk round the village, 
and noticed the ruins of one or two huts 
which Mr Gregory had recently had pulled 
to the ground. Upon the ruins of one sat 
an old man of ninety, staring stupidly about, 
as if stunned by the blow which had be- 
fallen him. Upon questioning him, I dis- 
covered that his hut had been converted 
into a ruin two days before ; that he was 
penniless, homeless, and friendless ; and that 
he had nothing to eat but the few potatoes 
which the neighbours had given him. I 
went to a hut and arranged that he should 

r52 My Connaught Cousins. 

be taken in and fed ; then I walked on 
to the hovel which was inhabited by James 
Merton and his daughter Eose. I found 
that Merton had gone to the fair, but Eose 
was at home. The wretched room was clean 
and neat as usual, and Eose was seated on 
the bed mending her father's rags. She 
looked sadly pale and worn, and when 
I questioned her as to the cause of her 
trouble she only cried, and said that it 
was nothing. I asked her to come up 
to the Lodge and spend the day with 
our servants, but she refused ; so at 
last, reluctantly enough, I got up to 
go, and left her to pass the rest of the 
day alone." 

Meanwhile what was going on at the 
fair ? Among the foot passengers to Gul- 
ranny that morning had been James Merton 
and Michael Jamieson. Michael, knowing 
that Merton had to answer a summons, had 
called for him, and proposed that the two 
should walk into town together. During 

My Connatight Cousins. 153 

that minute he had been at the hut he 
had seen Rose, and the sight of the girl's 
pale cheeks and wistful eyes made him 
feel bitterer than ever against the man 
who had come between them. 

They had plenty of company on the road, 
but when they got into the town they 
found the crowxl immense. The little streets 
were thronged with men and women, who 
were driving in their last remaining live 
stock to be sold for the rent. A little 
before noon young Gregory drove in his 
tandem, scattering the ragged crowd about 
him like so much mud. He drove up to 
the door of the principal inn, and alighted. 
He took his mother to a private room, 
and went himself to the one where the 
agent sat. He did not go before he was 
wanted. The miserable tenants, dreading 
a court of law almost as much as they 
dreaded the workhouse, had been driven 
to make one last appeal. They had sought 
out the agent — laid their cases before him, 

154 -^y Connaught Cousins. 

and begged him to take half of their debt, 
and he, having one grain of humanity in 
him, had promised to lay their cases before 
his master. He did so, and the master's 
answer was, — " No, they'll pay up, or go ! 
I'll have my land, or the money for the 
land, if they die for it ! " 

When the answer was given, James 
Merton stood amongst the crowd. He 
looked at the upturned faces of the people — 
he heard their low murmur of heartrending 
despair ; he saw a few scalding tears blind 
many eyes, and as he was about to turn 
and walk away, he heard these words 
whispered into his ear, — 

** Eemember, James Merton, youWe the 

During that day, young Gregory strolled 
aimlessly about the town, while his mother 
was doing her shopping. He was about 
to return to the inn to rejoin her at lunch, 
when, in passing across a deserted square, 
he came face to face with Merton. He 

My Co7inaught Cousins. 155 

paused, for something in the man's face 
attracted him, then, without a word, he was 
about to pass on. But Merton stopped him. 

" Yer honor," he said, respectfully touch- 
ing his forelock, " I want one word wid you." 

" Who are you ? " returned the young 
man superciliously. "I think I know 
your face." 

" I'm James Merton, yer honor." 

Gregory started. 

"Eose's father," he thought, "but for 
all that a dangerous ruffian, if what I hear 
be true. — Well," he added aloud, " what 
do you want with me ? " 

*' I've come to speak to you, sir, on 
behalf o' the tenants." 

The young man shrugged his shoulders 

** My friend," he said, " I've heard so 
much of that subject lately that it is 
beginning to get rather uninteresting to 
me. Besides, this is neither the time nor 
the place to discuss it. Stand aside ! " 

156 My Connaught Cousins. 

But the man doggedly kept his place. 

" Only one word, sir. I humbly ask 
one word," he said. '' We're starvin' — 
man, woman, and child." 

" And serve you right ! you won't go." 

"No, sir, we won't go!" cried the man, 
his face for a moment lighting up into 
positive fury. " We can't be turned out 
like brute beasts to die in a foreign land. 
We were born here, Mr Gregory, and all 
we ask is to be allowed to live and die 
here, on the bit o' land we love. You're 
rich, sir, and we're poor, and we ask you to 
take down the rents that we may have 
food. It's not for ourselves we ask it, 
but for the wives and little children that 
are dying wid want and cold. There be 
other mashters in the county that would 
give in if you would give in, but I know 
you are among them that hould out the 

" Yes," said the young man quietly, 
''you are right. Had I my will, there 

My Connaught Cousins. i^y 

would be no concessions in the country. 
I'd starve you into good behaviour ! " 

" We're starved already, sir ; be merci- 
ful. It ivould he better for you ! " 

" What do you mean ? " said the young 
man, turning nervously upon him. 

" Only this ; our blood's up, and there's 
no knowing what we might do if you 
went too far ! We are desperate men." 

** Desperate fools ! If the law allowed 
it, I'd have you whipped into good be- 
haviour ? " 

" You would ? " 

"I would. Good-day." 

He turned, and would have moved on, 
but Merton clutched him fiercely. 

"Stop,' he cried, ^'I've not done wid 
you yet." 

" What ! " 

" You'd better listen ; you'd better hear 
me out, Mr Gregory. Once more I say 
it would be better for you ! " 

" Do you dare to threaten ? " 

158 My Connaught Cousins, 

"And if I do ? I'm not one to threaten 
what I'm afraid to do." 

The young man turned fiercely upon him, 
but for some reason he suddenly changed. 

*' My good man," he said, " I must re- 
quest you to master your temper, or it 
will certainly get you into trouble before 
long. And now, in return for your lec- 
ture, let me give you one bit of advice. 
If you really want some concession from me, 
ask your daughter to plead your cause." 

" My daughter ! " exclaimed Merton, 
staring wildly at the speaker ; " what d'ye 
mean ? " 

"Just what I say. There, I've heard 
enough of your whining ; but, if you really 
want concession, send pretty little Eose to 
me — and — we shall see ! " 

This time he did walk away quietly, 
puffing his cigar as he went, while Merton, 
who had been powerless to put out a hand 
to detain him, watched him with wild and 
wondering eyes. 

My Connaught Cousins. 159 

" What did he mane ? " he murmured, 
gazing at the spot where the young master's 
form had disappeared. "Why did he talk 
like that o' my Eose, wid that look in his 
eyes, and that wicked smile on his face ? I 
know, God help me ! His father killed her 
poor mother, and now he'd do worse to the 
child she left behind. Cold-blooded, piti- 
less cur ! why should he live to break more 
hearts? He's spoken his own death-war- 
rant, this day ! " 

Early in the afternoon the handsome car 
belonging to Mr Gregory was driven round 
to the door of the inn. Mrs Gregory — a 
tall, aristocratic-looking woman of sixty, 
was somewhat astonished at this early de- 
parture, but when she heard that her son 
wished for it, she said no more. She was 
by no means an estimable old woman, — she 
was heartless and cruel enough to the world 
in general, — and she had never been kindly 
enough to question the cruelties which she 

i6o My Connaught Cousins, 

knew were regularly practised on her son's 
estate ; but she adored her son, indeed it 
was said he was the only thing she had ever 
been known to care for. 

When, therefore, he gave his orders, she 
never questioned them ; and, though she 
would fain have stayed a few hours longer 
in Gulranny that day, she said nothing, but, 
when the car was ready, she quietly and 
proudly took her seat by her son's side. 

In truth, Mr Gregory had deemed it ad- 
visable to make an early departure from 
Gulranny that day ; for, since his interview 
with James Merton, and his subsequent 
sight of the faces of certain of his tenantry, 
he by no means looked forward with pleasure 
to the prospect of a dark drive home. But 
he said nothing to his mother, — it was also 
the fear of frightening her which made him 
neglect to provide himself with an extra 
escort of police. 

Thus they drove out of Gulranny before 
the day's proceedings were nearly over, and 

My Comiaught Cousins. i6i 

certainly before the daylight had even com- 
menced to fade. 

About seven o'clock that night James 
Merton, a very weary, worn-out man, 
walked quietly into Storport. He was 
astonished to find unusual commotion going 
on in the villacre, — certain fio-ures ran hither 
and thither, others stood in little groups 
about the road, — while around the house 
of the landlord gathered a great crowd. 
There was certainly something the matter, 
and, before going to his hut, though he was 
sorely worn out, Merton walked on to dis- 
cover the cause of the commotion. He 
had made one or two inquiries, and had 
learned the fact that the young master 
was shot — when he came face to face 
with my cousin Kathleen. On hearing 
the news, she had hastened down to the 
Castle to see if she could do an}i:hing 
for ^Irs Gregory — she was now about to 
return home. 


1 62 My Connaught Cousins. 

" This is a shocking affair ! " said Kath- 
leen, in answer to Merton s " good day." 

" They tell me the young mashter s 
dead!'' returned the man, looking quietly 
at her ; "is that true^ Miss Kathleen ? " 

" Quite true," returned Kate ; "he was 
shot this afternoon as he was driving home 
from the fair ! " 

"Was he shot dead, miss — or did he 
spake before he died ? " 

In recalling this conversation afterwards, 
Kathleen remembered the peculiar, half- 
trembling eagerness of the man's manner — 
at the time she was too much excited to 
notice it at all. 

" No, he did not speak," said Kathleen ; 
" he was shot through the head, and he fell 
dead upon his mother's shoulder. Think 
of that ! I wonder she didn't faint or die 
with the shock — but she just clasped her 
arms around the body — and kept it so 
while her frightened groom drove the horses 
on to the Castle ! " 

My Connaiight Cousins, 163 

" But, Miss Kathleen — the man that done 
it — didn't they try to catch the one that 
fired the shot ? " 

"Yes, of course they did," returned 
Kathleen, '' and he is very likely in custody 
by this time. You see, when the shot was 
fired, the horses took fright and bolted — 
but, as soon as they could be pulled up, 
the ofiicer who was on the car leapt down 
and pursued the murderer. I hope it isn't 
a Storport boy ! " 

"Miss Kathleen," said Merton quietly, 
"young Mr Gregory was a pitiless man." 

" I am afraid he was." 

"Then, maybe, afther all, perhaps 'tis 
better that he should be sent away ! " 

" Don't say that, James Merton. Look at 
it whatever way we will, this murder of the 
young man was a cruel and shameful act. 
Think of his poor mother, — whatever he 
was, she loved him, quite as fondly as you 
love your Eose, — and to have him shot 
dead at her side — to have his warm blood 

164 My Connaught Cousins. 

scattered over her body — to see him happy 
and bright one minute, and the next a 
hideous corpse. No, look at it what way 
we will, there is nothing can justify that ! " 

" No," said Merton, looking at her with 
a strange, wild light in his eyes ; '' that's 
what they all say when the poor down- 
trodden creature puts out a hand to 
strike the tyrant that has been torturing 
poor souls for years ! Say she does 
suffer — isn't there others that suffer too ? 
Hasn't the poor man got a heart the 
same as the rich to feel for his kith and 
kin. I tell you, Miss Kathleen, she's a 
pitiless woman, just as he was a pitiless 
man. What did she care for the cries 
o' the starving creatures about her, so 
long as her son was safe, and. knew 
nought o' sorrow or pain ; and now the 
pitiful cry is all for her, not for the poor 
creature who has been starved and tor- 
tured into doin' what he's done." 

He turned and walked away ; pushing 

3fy Connaiight Cousins. 165 

his way through the crowd, and looking 

neither to the right nor to the left, until 

he gained his hut. He found the place 

empty and in darkness. He lit a rush- 

liorht which was fixed in a bottle stand- 

ing on the table ; then he sat down on 
a form, and covered his face with his 
hands. He was trembling all over 
by this time — not with cold, but with 
some inward sinking of the heart. He 
fancied he could hear the low moans of 
a suff'erinor woman. . . . The sound of 
a footstep coming across the threshold 
made him raise his head. Looking up, he 
encountered the eyes of his daughter 
Kose. . . . She was pale as a corpse . . . 
she w^as trembling violently, — with a low 
moan she tottered across the room, and 
fell at her father's feet. 

" What is it, Eose ? " he asked, almost 
roughly ; " are yoxi, too, coming to ask me 
to pity the tyrant that's been sent to his 
last account ? " 

1 66 My Connaught Cousins. 

The girl raised her head and stared 
into her father's face with mingled terror 
and pain. 

** Father," she said, " don't you know 
who done it ? " 

The man started, and almost pushed 
her away. 

" How should I know ? " he said. 

" God, help me ! " cried the girl, 
with a fresh outburst of grief. " Father, 
it — it was Michael Jamieson — him that 1 
love so well." 

V 1 1. 

Yes, it seemed all too true. On the evi- 
dence of a gun found on the very spot 
where the murder was committed, Michael 
Jamieson had been seized and handcuffed 
as he had been quietly walking home 
from Gulranny Fair ; and Eose Merton, 
standing on the lonely Storport bog, had 
seen her lover dragged past her on his 

Afy Connaitght Cousins. 167 

way to prison. The poor girl, utterly be- 
side herself with terror and pain, had 
shrieked out, and rushed towards him ; 
but she was roughly hurled back. 
Michael Jamieson, they told her, was 
going to be tried for murder — for the 
murder of the master of Storport. 

This was the story which Rose sobbed 
forth, kneeling at her father's knee ; and 
as James Merton heard, he became like 
one stricken unto death. A fortnight be- 
fore he had, with the money supplied to 
him by Mrs Timlin, purchased that gun 
from Michael, and since then — until that 
very day — it had been kej)t secretly hid- 
den at the inn. After the fatal shot had 
been fired, Merton, eager for self-preser- 
vation, had fled, and forgotten the gun, 
which he left lying on the ground. 

He had been quite ignorant of the 
fact that Michael's initials were en- 
graven on the stock. But this fact had 
been quite enough to implicate Michael, 

1 68 My Connaugkt Cousins. 

and, despite his firm protestations of 
innocence, he was detained a prisoner. 
It was a trying time for Rose Merton, 
for somehow or other it got whispered 
about that she was the cause of the 
affair. Everybody knew that Michael 
was not mixed up with the Ribbon boys, 
and now that things had gone so far, the 
policeman who had been young Gregory's 
constant escort, told of the meeting he had 
witnessed between Rose and the young 
master — of Michael's interference — of the 
quarrel — and of Michael's threat to take 
the young master's life. So these things 
got whispered about, and soon Rose 
Merton found she could not even cross 
her threshold in peace. 

Two days had passed, and Michael still 
lay a closely - guarded prisoner in the 
barracks. Rose had made one or two 
attempts to see him, but had been de- 
cidedly refused. 

Meanwhile things were going forward 

My Connaiight Cotisins. 169 

at the Castle. Tbe inquest had been 
held, and at last, with much pomp, the 
body of the young master was conveyed 
to the family grave. Nearly all the 
tenantry had turned out to watch the 
grand hearse and coaches go by — but 
Merton sat at home. He was looking 
with heavy eyes into the fire, thinking 
— not of the murdered, but of the living 
— of Michael Jamieson, whom he well 
knew was to be tried for a deed which 
he had never done. 

" They'll never hang him," he muttered ; 
" no, no ; there's no evidence against him, 
and he'll come out a free man. If I didn't 
know that I think I should give myself up 
and tell all ; but no, they'll never take 
Michael's life. I've enough blood on my 
soul already — enough without poor Michael's. 
I can't take bite or sup, and at night I can't 
sleep for thinkin' 0' what I've done ! " 

He shivered all over ; he covered his face 
with his hands and moaned. All was quiet 

170 My Connaught Cousins. 

in the cabin ; but he could hear the faint 
echo of the murmuring crowd without, and 
he knew that the murdered body of the 
young master was being taken to its last 
home. White and wild, shaking now from 
head to foot, he rose, staggered across the 
kitchen, and shut the door. But the 
sounds still crept in, and above the keen- 
ing of the crowd he seemed to hear the 
mother sobbing. With a cry he stag- 
gered back, and fell once more into his 

" God, why did I do it ? " he moaned. 
" I might ha' known the deed would curse 
me and drag me down ! Sometimes I feel 
a kind 0' yearnin' come upon me to go and 
give myself up and end it all — but I can't 
— I daren't — for Kose's sake ; yes, and for 
the sake o' that other Rose who gave her 
to me wid her dyin breath. Oh wife, 
wife ! you were like an angel on this dark 
earth ; and now maybe you're somewhere 
up yonder among the good folk in heaven, 

Aly Connaught Cousins. 171 

mournin' and grievin' over the deed your 
man has done ! " 

His body was shaken now with sobs and 
tears ; he covered his face again, and sat 
crying like a little child. While he sat thus 
the door was gently opened, and Eose came 
in. She had been crying too, for she had 
been standing alone on a desolate part of 
the bog watching the funeral procession as 
it made its way through the village, and 
she had been stricken to the heart, believ- 
ing, as she did, that she was partly the 
cause of the murder. So she had covered 
her ears as if to shut out that low moan 
which haunted her, and had walked sadly 
home. She had pushed back the door 
so gently that her father had not heard. 
Noting his troubled attitude, she went 
sympathetically forward and laid her 
hand gently upon his shoulder. 

" Father ! " 

" Eh ! what's that ? " cried Merton, start- 
ing wildly to his feet. 

172 My Co7inaught Cousins. 

" It's me, father — Eose ! " 

" Eose ! my daughter ? " he echoed, staring 
at her ; " why — why do you come on me so 
sudden ? I did not see you." 

He was trembling like an aspen leaf, and 
his pale face was bathed with perspiration. 
Eose turned quietly away. 

" Father," she asked presently, " is there 
any news ? " 

" 0' what ? " 

" Of poor Michael ? " 

" I don't know. Sure I've been too 
worried to ask. What are you cryin' 
for ? Give me my dinner." 

" Yes, father." 

She crossed quietly to a square wooden 
chest, lifted the lid, and took out their 
dinner, — a few cold potatoes and a bowl of 
milk, and set it on the table ; then she 
took her seat in a corner of the room out of 
her father's sight. For, despite her efforts to 
suppress her grief, her tears still flowed fast, 
and her throat was convulsed with sobs. 

My Connatighl Cousins. 173 

" Eose." 

" Yes, father." 

" Is there any drink in the house ? " 

The girl sadly shook her head. Where 
was the money to come from, she asked 
herself, when she could not even buy 

" Then go and fetch some," he answered 
roughly. " No, stay, I'll step down to 
Widdy Timlin's myself. Eose," he added 
softly, extending his hand towards her, 
" Eosie, machree, don't take on so. It 
breaks my heart to see you. 'Twill all 
come rig^ht in the end." 

Encouraged by her father's gentle tone, 
the girl came forward, and, sobbing passion- 
ately, threw herself at his feet. 

" Oh, father, father," she moaned, *' I 
can't help it ! Sure, don't I know 'twill 
never come right till Michael's cleared ! " 

" They'll never dare to harm the 

" Ah, father, 'tis not altogether that I'm 

174 ^y Connattght Cousins. 

thinkin' of," returned the girl ; " whatever 
they do to him there'll be the guilt on 
him, and he'll never be free o' that ! He's 
shed blood, and God will never forgive 
him ; and God will never forgive me my 
wdeked share ! " 

"Maybe, afther all, he's innocent," said 
Merton, watching her quietly. In a moment 
her face was irradiated. 

"Oh, if I could only believe that!" she 
cried ; " but no, father, all the folk say he 
did it ; and isn't there his own gun to prove 
that he did ? He's a murderer, father, — 
think o' that ! — a man all good folk hate — 
a thing scorned and hated by men, and 
outcast from God, — with no blessing in this 
world, and no hope in the next, — an evil 
thing, with Cain's mark always burning on 
his guilty brow ! " 

The girl had spoken impetuously, in a 
wild kind of shuddering horror ; as she 
ceased, her father grasped her hand with 
a grip of iron. 

Aly Connaught Cousins. 175 

" Rose ! " he almost shrieked, '' say no 
more — I can't listen — " 

" AVhat ails you, father ? " said the girl 
in amazement. 

" You're too hard on the boy. If he 
done it in anger or in drink, God may 
forgive him yet." 

" Never, never ! " 

" It's a lie ! " shrieked James Merton, 
roughly throwing her hands aside. " Who 
are you, to speak in the name of Almighty 
God ? It turns my heart sick to hear you ! 
Have you got no pity ? " 

" God knows I have," returned the 
girl quietly ; " pity and love too ; and, 
when I think o' poor Michael, my 
heart bleeds ; but, father, I can't help 
thinking sometimes on him that's dead. 
It was very cruel, — he was only a boy, 
with all the world before him, — and the 
murderer's hand struck him down in 
his strength before he could even say a 
prayer ! " 

176 My Connaught Cousins. 

With a wild moan James Merton fell 
back half-fainting in his seat. 

** Water," he moaned, " give me a glass o' 
water ! " 

'' Here, father." 

" Loosen my neckcloth, Eose. I'm a bit 

With trembling fingers she undid the 
kerchief which was knotted around his 
throat, and set his collar free. She held 
the water to his lips, and with her apron 
wiped the cold sweat from his brow, and 
gradually he recovered. His face was still 
ashen grey, his lips livid, his eyes large and 

" Eosie," he said tenderly, " I think 
I'll lie down a bit, for I'm clean tired 

The girl put her arms around his neck 
and kissed him. 

" Sit down and take your dinner, father," 
she said. 

" No, mavoiirneen, I can't eat ; I'm sick 

Aly Conna2tght Cousins. lyj 

and tired — heart sick, wid all this trouble. 
I — I — think I'll lie down on the bed and 
rest a bit, Eose. Give me a kiss, machree . " 

"Yes, father." 

She held up her face towards him, and he 
kissed it tenderly. 

*' Good-night, my Eose," he said. 

"Dear father, good-night." 

He gently released her from his arms 
and staororered across the floor. Havinci: 
reached the door which led into his little 
bedchamber, he paused and looked back. 

"Eose," he said, and his voice was 
broken, as if with suppressed tears ; " Eosie, 
machree, when you were a little child, you 
used to fold your hands and say a pretty 
prayer your poor mother taught you. Do 
you ever pray now f " 

" Every night, father," answered Eose. 

" For — for your poor mother — and for all 
your friends — " 

"And for you, father, too." 

" Ah, you shall teach me to say it some 


178 My Connaught Cousins. 

day, Kose — maybe 'twill make these bad 
times mend I " 

He turned, entered his room, and left his 
daughter in the kitchen alone. 

When he was gone, Eose quietly put 
away the food which he had left untasted ; 
then she sat with folded hands before the fire. 

" Poor father ! " she murmured sadly, 
glancing towards the door of the room 
where he lay. ''This trouble's preying 
sorely on A^'m, and he's growing thinner 
and greyer each day. It makes my heart 
bleed to look at him, and to know how 
little good I am to help him now, — for I 
can't work ; my heart's too full. Day and 
night I'm thinking 0' poor Michael. I 
can't believe but he did it ; he was so mad 
against the young master ; he swore, in my 
own hearing, to have his life, and all on 
account o' me ! Oh, Michael, Michael ! if I 
only knew how to help you ! — if I could only 
comfort you in all this trouble that's come I " 

She rocked herself to and fro, giving 

My Connaiight Cousins. 179 

vent to the grief which was well-nigh 
killing her, but which she only suffered to 
master her when she was alone. 

Suddenly she heard herself called. 

"Rose, Rose!" 

She started up. It was her father calling 
her from the inner room. She hurriedly 
dried her eyes, and ran across the floor. 

" Yes, father ! " she replied, crossing the 
threshold of the bedroom, then she paused : 
James Merton, fully dressed, had thrown 
himself wearily upon the bed, where he 
lay in a deep sleep. But his sleep was 
troubled ; his breathing was laboured ; now 
and again he muttered some words, and 
put up his hand, as if to shield himself 
from danger. 

" Poor, poor father ! " murmured the girl. 

She went forward, bent tenderly above 
him, and gently smoothed back the threads 
of silver hair which lay cold and clammy 
upon his brow. At that the sleeper moved 
again and seized her hands. 

I So My Connaught Cousins, 

'* Eose, Eose," he cried, " don't take on 
so, mavourneen, and I'll tell ye all. / 
killed the mashter ! I shot him dead ! — do 
ye hear ? — dead, wid Michael's gun ! " 

He moaned and turned on his pillow, 
but the girl did not move ; she stood, as 
if suddenly turned to stone, gazing with 
horror-stricken eyes at the haggard face 

of her father Presently he moved 

and spoke again. 

'' Eose," he murmured, *' Eosie, machree, 
don't cry or it'll break your poor father's 
heart. I never meant trouble to come to 
you, and I thought if he was dead, we'd 
maybe have brighter times. So I done 
it — I murdered him ; and now they say 
'twas poor Michael as done that same, 
but it wasn't. Michael's a good lad. Eosie, 
darlin', say a prayer to - night for your 
poor old father." 

The grasp of his fingers loosened, and 
Eose was free. She staggered back and 
almost fell. The noise awakened her father; 

My Comtaught Cousins. i8i 

he started up, rubbed his eyes, and stared 
all rouud him. 

" What's the matter ? " he cried. " What 
have I said ? I thought. . . . Rose, what 

are you there for ? ^^ hy do you 

look at* me like that ? " 

" Father ! " murmured the girl, forcin^^ 
her white lips to speak, "tell me, is it — 
is it— true f " 

''True! is what true?" returned Merton; 
then with a sudden impulse he extended 
his arms and murmured pitifully, " oh, 
Kose, Rose — God help me ! " 

His arms were still outstretched towards 
her, but the girl made no movement to 
go to him. She put up her hands as if 
to keep him away, and with a low moan, 
fell fainting upon the floor. 


No sooner was the body of the young 
master committed to the earth than public 

1 82 My Connaught Cousins. 

attention once more turned upon the man 
who was generally supposed to have mur- 
dered him. Michael Jamieson still lay 
in the strong room at Storport barrack ; 
for, before being sent to trial, the case 
was to be thoroughly investigated by 
the magistrates of Gulranny. 

Eose Merton knew all this ; she also 
knew how important it was that she 
should see Michael before his trial came 
on ; so at last, through the friendliness 
of one of the policemen at the barrack, 
she was promised that interview with 
her lover which she so urgently sought. 

It was the night before the day on 
which Michael was to be taken into 
Gulranny to undergo his first examina- 
tion, that Rose Merton walked wearily 
across the bogs towards the barrack. 
Having reached the building, she was 
admitted, and shown without delay into 
the strong room where Michael lay. 

" Ten minutes. Rose," murmured the 

My Comiatight Cousins. 183 

man who showed her in, "and then you 
must be off. It's against orders, you 
know, to let you come at all, but sure 
you'll never spake about it ! " 

" Never," said the girl solemnly, raising 
her heavy eyes to his face ; and the man, 
touched to the heart by her haggard look, 
added hastily, — 

" Sure, it's meself that's on duty, astore, 
and I'm rather deaf, so you may just say 
what ye like to the boy, so long as ye 
don't overrun yer time. Now hurry, avich, 
hurry, for I'm in dread till I get ye away 
again, and that's the truth." 

The room was a sort of dungeon ; 
not unlike a prison cell. It was very 
scant of furniture, and its one little 
window was secured by heavy iron bars. 
Michael Jamieson, who was well liked and 
respected by every man in the barrack, 
was suffered to remain here without 
handcuffs. When Rose entered he w^as 
seated dejectedly on the side of his bed ; 

184 My Connaught Cousins, 

at sight of her face he rose with a joy- 
ful cry and folded her in his arms. 

" Eose !" he said; "my own darlin Eose!" 
He kissed her cheek again and again, 
and smoothed her pretty black hair; but 
the girl said nothing, — she just laid her 
head upon his breast and sobbed like a 
child. It was the first time she had cried 
since she had fainted before her father. 

"Eose," murmured the young fellow, 
" you've come at last ! " 

''Yes," returned the girl, stifling her sobs, 
" I have come, God help me ! " 

" I was thinkin' you wouldn't come at all, 
Eose, though day and night I've sat waiting 
and watchin', thinkin' o' nought but Eose 
Merton. At every sound I heard I started 
up, thinking it was maybe you come at 
last, and when the step passed and no Eose 
came— I knelt down and prayed. God 
has heard me, — you are here ! " 

" Oh, Michael, do you forgive me ? " 

" What have I to forgive, mavourneenf 

My Connatight Cozisins. 185 

Nay, never hang thy bead. Are you 
thinkin o' him that's dead ? Poor lad, as 
freely as I forgive him, I can forgive you." 

" But, Michael, when you know all — " 

" I know it already, Rose — I've spent all 
my time thinkin' 0' it — and now I see you 
were not so much to blame. What was I, a 
poor rough lad, by the side 0' the young 
master? What was my love to his? You 
thought him an honest man, machree, and 
when he spoke ye fair you trusted and 
believed him. He was rich — 1 was poor — 
'twas only the luck that was against us — 
no fault 0' yours ! " 

" Michael, what are you saying ? " ex- 
claimed the girl in amazement. 

" Xothin ! Don't mind me, Rose ; thank 
God you've come — that's all. I'm to go 
before the magistrates to-morrow : the 
sight 0' your face will help me through ! " 

" You're o-oino; to be tried ? " 

" Yes, Rose ; — for murder ! " 

A convulsive shiver passed over the girl's 

1 86 My Connaught Cousins. 

frame. She covered her eyes with her 

" Ah, yes ! " she moaned. 

" Why do you shrink away? Why do you 
hide your face ? Rose, listen to me — you 
don't think that I did it ? You can never 
think that I As God's my judge, I'm 
innocent ! " 

'' I know it, Michael— too well ! " 

" Too well ? " 

''Ay — too well!" returned the girl in a 
low, despairing moan. "Michael, let me 
speak. Let me have it off my heart, for it 
seems hurrying me into my grave. I know 
you're innocent — and why ? — because I've 
come straight from him as done the cruel 

The young man stared at her incredul- 

" What ! " he exclaimed ; then he added 
eagerly, " speak, Eose — who is he ? " 

The girl grasped his arm for support, as 
she whispered, — 

My Connaught Cousins. 187 

" My — my own father I " 


" Indeed, Michael, 'tis true ! " 

'' He killed young Mr Gregory ! " 

'' He did ! " 

" I can't think it, Eose — it seems too 
horrible for belief. Why did he do it ? " 

" He was one of the Eibbon boys," said 
the girl in a soft whisper, " and he drew 
the blood-marked paper, and was told off to 
do the job. Well, he sent the warning, and 
though he was mad against the young 
master, he kind o' shrank from taking 
his life. So he waited ; but things got no 
better, and the boys urged him on. At 
last it was arrans^ed that he was to do it 
on the day of Gulranny Fair. Still he 
didn't want to do it — and when he was 
in Gulranny he spoke to the young master 
and asked him to be merciful to all the 
poor creatures in Storport ! " 

" Yes, Eose, go on ! " 

" Well, the master was fierce with him ; 

1 88 My Connaug/it Cousins. 

said he'd starve every man ; and then he 
said something about me ! Father was mad ; 
so he took plenty to drink and started for 
home. But he only got half way. He 
went to the spot where he'd hidden the 
gun, took it out, and lay down behind a 
mud bank. When the car drove up he 
fired, and the master fell dead ! Michael, 
he told me all. He's just broken-hearted 
on account o' you. 'Twas with your gun 
he did it ; you sold it to him a fortnight 
ago ! " 

'' God help me ; so I did ! " 

"And, Michael, this is worst of all — 
they've called me as a witness against 
you ! Oh ! what shall I say ? what shall 
I say ? " 

" Speak the truth, Eose, every word ! " 

" The truth ! " returned the girl ; " and if 

I do, what then ? You will be free ; but I 

shall "have spoken the death warrant of my 

own father" 

• " That's true ! " exclaimed Michael, aghast. 

My Conna2cght Cousins. 1S9 

" Oh, Rose, why did you not come to me 
before ? " 

" I could not, Michael. When I asked 
to be allowed to see you they refused ; and 
even now 'tis Hogan O'Connor that has 
quietly let me in." 

"Let me think! let me think! Oh, 
mavourneen, this is a wicked trouble that 
has come upon us. . . . If they should 
find me guilty — but no, they can't do that 
— there be no evidence against me ! " 

" Oh, Michael, there's the gun ! " 

" The gun ! " returned the young fellow 

" Sure enough, dear — 'twas found on 
the very spot. . . . Father dropt it in his 
haste to get away." 

" Then, 'tis black against me. Well, we 
must trust in God ! " 

" Michael, what do you mean ? " s^id the 
girl, clinging wildly to him. 

" Just this, machree, I want you to re- 
member when you're in the witness-box 

I go My Connaught Cotisins. 

to-morrow, that 'tis easier to die with 
an innocent than a guilty mind. I'm 
young and strong and can bear a bit o' 
trouble, and he is your father. Eose, if 
you are brave and silent, thank God, he'll 
never come to harm, for there isn't another 
soul in the world can spake a word against 
him !" 

" I can't bear it ; it will break my heart ! " 

" Don't say that, darlin' ; to see you grieve 
is the hardest of all to bear. Since I was a 
bit of a lad I've had but one thought in the 
world, and that thought was Eose Merton. 
True or false I've always loved you ! " 

'* And I loved you Michael, — always, 
always 1 '* 

" I'll try to think it, Eose. I'll try to 
forget that aught ever came between us 
two. But I don't think I ever loved you 
as I love you now. It's worth being here ; 
it's worth sorrow and death itself — to feel 
as I feel — I think I could die now, free and 

Aly Connaught Cousins. 191 

" Michael," sobbed the girl, " for heaven's 
sake don't talk of dying ! " 

" I won't ! I'll try to think all will come 
right, and maybe after all it will. Give me 
thy hand, Kose ; look in my face and tell 
me, come what may, you love me now ! " 

" I do, I do ! " "^ 

" With all your heart ? " 

"With all my heart." 

" That's enough, that's enough," he mur- 
mured, as he folded her to his breast. 

" Can you forgive me, dear ? " 

" Forgive you, Kose ? If you could see 
into my heart and read all the love that's 
there, you'd never ask that same ! " 

Their interview was nearly over ; they 
had already far exceeded their time ; the 
policeman appeared and said, as gently as 
he could, that Eose Merton must go. Then 
the girl felt her weakness returning ; she 
clung to her lover. 

" Oh, Michael, I can't go," she sobbed hys- 
terically ; "I can't bear it ; I must speak ! " 

192 My Connaught Cousins. 

But the young fellow tried his best to 
soothe her. 

"Keep up your heart, Rose," he whis- 
pered ; " ril fight it through like a man, and 
take my chance. Don't think o' me, but o' 
your own flesh and blood. Remember if 
you spake the word that frees me, your 
father's a dead man ! " 

"Oh! what shall I do?" 

" Trust in the Lord to make things 
mend. Trust in God, Rose, and pray for 

Then he signalled to the man to take 
her ; and poor RosCj half distracted and 
broken-hearted, was led away. 

How she got outside she never knew. 
When she came fully to herself she was 
standing on the Storport road, within a 
hundred yards of the barrack. 

It was a dreary-looking night. At first 
it seemed to her that there was no one 
abroad, but suddenly she became conscious 
of a figure walking along the road a little 

My ConnaicgJit Coicsins. 193 

before her — the figure of a woman, — tall 
and stately and clothed in deep black. Eose 
knew that figure well. It was Mrs 
Gregory of the Castle — yes, the once proud 
Mrs Gregory — old and enfeebled now, and 
leaning on a staff*. One moment of hesi- 
tation, then Eose ran forward and clutched 
her dress. 

•* Madam," she cried in a low trembling 
voice, " I want to speak to you ! " 

The lady paused ; but Eose could not see 
her face, it was covered with a thick crape 

" Whoever you are," she answered, " it is 
impossible. I can speak to no one ! " 

" One word ! " cried Eose, '' only one 
word ! " 

** I do not know you ! " 

" Oh, madam, you know me only too well !" 

The lady raised her veil, and looked into 
the girl's troubled face. As she did so her 
features hardened ; her eyes glittered like 


194 ^y Connaught Cousins. 

" You here ! " she began passionately ; 
'* girl, do you dare ? " 

" Oh, madam, God forgive me for speak- 
ing to you in your trouble ! I know you've 
cause to hate me and mine — ay, more 
cause than you know." 

" Hate you I " returned the woman fiercely; 
" ay, more than hate. Had I my will you 
should hang with your wretched paramour." 

" Madam, for the love of God ! " ex- 
claimed the girl, sinking on her knees. 

" Your face sickens me ; your voice 
hateful to me ! Begone, or — or I shall 
strike you ! " 

She grasped her cane as if she meant to 
carry out the threat. 

Kose Merton did not shrink ; looking up 
quietly, she said, — 

"Yes, strike me. Blows would be better 
for me, madam, than even kind words ; but 
you must hear me." 

" I will not ! " 

*'I ivill speak, if you kill me for it! 

]\Iy Connaitght Cousiiis. 195 

Madam, my heart bleeds for you, but you 
can't mend one dark deed by doin another ; 
and it's murder you're goin' to do, in the 
sight o' God." 

" AVhat do you mean r' 

" Just this. Michael Jamieson never 
harmed a hair of your son's head." 

" Don't speak of it, nor of him ! My 
curse — " 

" Madam, what does the good Book say ? 
— ' Curse not at all.' I'm only a poor girl, 
and you're a great lady, but I'm here to 
save you from a wicked deed — a deed as 
wicked as the one you lay at Michael Jamie- 
son's door ! " 

" I've heard you, Rose Merton, now hear 
me. You would tell me that this ^TCtched 
creature was only one of many. I know it. 
The murder was planned by the Eibbonmen, 
and Jamieson was only the instrument ! 
Silence, and listen ! I tell you I care little 
now whether or not this man was guilty 
of the deed itself. Even if you could 

196 My Connaught Cousins. 

'prove his innocence, I would not spare 
him ! '^ 

" You would not — " 

"If I had the power," she continued, 
growing more and more excited, " I'd 
hunt you all down, you first of all. You 
should all hang together ! " 

"Don't say that — 'tis not spoken like a 

" Then I will speak like a mother — give 
me back my son ! " 

"Oh, if I could ; it would not only heal 
your heart, but lift the load forever off 
mine. But I cannot ! What is done is 
done, and all I'm here for now is to save 
an innocent man." 

" Begone ! " 

" I will not go ! What is your grief to 
mine % Do you think 'tis only gentlefolks 
can feel ? Ah, your heart is hard, and you 
forget that poor folk can suffer too. If 
you and your son had been a little merci- 
ful, he would be alive now." 

My ConnaugJit Cousins. 197 

" When we asked for bread, you didn't 
listen. When the mothers and children 
were d}dng for lack of food, you didn't 
heed. A thousand homes might be empty, 
a thousand hearts broken, and what did 
you care ? You had neither pity nor kind- 
ness. You drove men mad, and then one poor 
miserable madman took your son's life ! " 

The woman rose her height, and pointed 
with her hand. 

" Begone ! " she said, '' you waste your 
time and mine. I have only one wish — 
never to see your face again ! Only one 
regret — that you will not suffer by the side of 
the wretch for whom you came to plead ! . . . 
Rose Merton, one word more. When my 
son fell dead into my arms, his life-blood 
flowed upon my shoulder, soaking my 
dress with red. I looked and looked at 
the mark, until it almost burnt into my 
brain. Then, in case I should ever be 
inclined to feel pity, I stitched this piece 

198 My Connaicght Cousins. 

of red clotli upon iriy shoulder, just where 
the blood had been. There it will remain, 
ever reminding me of my duty, until my 
vengeance is complete." 

Heart sick and soul sick, Eose raised her 
eyes, and saw for the first time that a large 
spot of red, like blood, was fixed upon the 
woman's shoulder. The sight of it almost 
made her faint, and with a sickening sense 
of fear upon her she turned away. 


According to the arrangements which had 
been made beforehand, Michael Jamieson 
was next morning placed upon a car, and, 
attended by a strong escort of police, was 
driven to the court - house at Gulranny. 
The trial had excited popular interest, and 
nearly every Storport boy was in town 
that day. My uncle and Achill Murry 
were two of those who were to decide 
whether or not Michael Jamieson was to 

J/y Conna2ight Cousins. 199 

be committed for trial. The place where 
the investig-ation was held w^as a laro^e 
square room, and on this occasion that 
portion of it which was allotted to the 
public w\as crammed to suftbcation, while 
all those who were unable to gain ad- 
mittance clustered together eagerly about 
the doors. Amono- those w^ho had been 


enabled to obtain seats were Charlie Bing- 
ley and his mother. Mrs Bingley, a jolly- 
looking woman of forty, had a special 
interest in the proceedings, for since her 
life had been threatened, not once but 
many times, since she had felt it her duty 
to prosecute some ruffians who persisted in 
poaching her river. My cousin Kathleen 
was also present ; Mrs Timlin, Conolly, and, 
most prominent of all, Mrs Gregory, clothed 
in the deepest of black, and w^ith the red 
mark looking like blood upon her shoulder. 
After the preliminaries w^re gone 
through, Mrs Gregory w^as the first wit- 
ness called. She stood like a wx>man 

200 My Connaught Cousins. 

of stone, her features fixed, her mouth 
set in cruel determination. She still leant 
somewhat feebly upon a handsome ebony 
cane, but she gave her evidence in a plain, 
straightforward manner, and without a 
tremor of the voice. When she was 
done she took her seat in court, and 
continued to grimly watch the proceed- 
ings throughout the day. 

Dt Maguire was the next : he had made 
a post-mortem examination of the body, 
and told the cause of death. Then came 
the policeman who had been on the car 
at the time of the murder, who had found 
the gun, and who had subsequently taken 
Michael Jamieson ]3risoner. He swore to 
the gun as the one he had found, but he 
confessed he had never seen it in the 
prisoners possession. He simply con- 
cluded it belonged to the prisoner on 
account of his initials being cut upon 
the stock. They were M. J. But he had 
something more to say. When questioned 

My Connatight Cousins. 201 

as to what made him connect M. J, with 
Michael Jamieson, he told of the meeting- 
he had witnessed between the young mas- 
ter and Rose Merton — of Michael's inter- 
ference — of the struggle — of his threat 
to take Mr Gregory's life. 

Public interest was certainly awakened 
at last, and when James Merton entered 
the court, you could have heard a pin 
drop. He was haggard and worn — but he 
never lifted his eyes from the ground. 
His evidence was of little importance. 
He knew nothing of his daughter's meet- 
ings with the young master or of Michael's 
interference. He had walked with him 
into Gulranny on the day of the murder, 
but once in the town, they had parted 
company, and he, James Merton, had 
started for home alone. 

" Did the prisoner refuse to accompany 
you back." 

" No ; I didn't ask him." 

" Why ? " 

202 My Connaught Cottsins. 

^'Why?" repeated Merton ; "I don't 
know why. I wanted to get home, and 
I went home." 

" Did anything occur during your walk 
home ? " 

'' Nothing. I walked straight across 
the bog. When I got to Storport I heard 
o' the murder." 

" On the fair day, had the prisoner a 
gun in his possession ? " 


" You will swear it ? " 

" I will swear it." 

" You know that the prisoner possessed 
a gun ? " 

" No." 

" One moment. Look at this gun." 

The gun which had deprived young Gre- 
gory of life was thereupon handed to James 
Merton. For a moment he shrank half fear- 
fully away — fixing his eyes wildly upon it. 

*' What — what's this?" he exclaimed. 
*' Why do you bring this to me ? " 

My Connatcght Con 


'' I want you to look at it, and tell me 
if you have ever seen it before." 

He looked at it long and intently — then 
he turned away. 

" No," he said. 

"You will swear that you have never 
seen it before ? " 

" Yes," he returned desperately, " I'll 
swear it." 

" You don't know that it belongs to the 
prisoner ? " 

" No." 

" You will swear you have never seen 
him with this gun in his hand ? " 

"Yes, I'll swear that too ! " 

Merton was ordered to step down, and 
now there remained but one witness to 
be called ; his daughter Eose. She came 
into the court looking scarcely Like a 
living woman. Her face was white as 
death, her eyes were large and lustrous, 
and as they gazed gently around the 
court they had in them a strange, wild^ 

204 My Connaught Cousins. 

wandering look, as if she did not under- 
stand what was taking place ; and, indeed, 
she scarcely saw. She was conscious only 
of a wild mass of people, in the midst of 
which sat a figure robed in black, with a 
blood-red mark upon the shoulder. She 
felt that the pale face was turned towards 
her, and that the pitiless eyes were fixed 
upon her as if to read her very soul. She 
passed her hand across her eyes, then fixed 
them upon the ground. 

" Your name is Kose Merton." 

" It is, sir." 

"Look at the prisoner; do you know him? " 

She raised her head and looked steadily 
over at Michael, who stood pale, reso- 
lute, but handcuffed. As their eyes met, 
her own filled with tears. 

'' Do you know him ? " 

" I do, sir." 

''You were, I believe, engaged to be 
married to him." 

" I was, sir." 

My Connaught Cousins. 205 

" But like many another of your sex, you 
preferred the attentions of a gentleman. 
You also knew the deceased ? " 

Rose did not answer. Her pale cheek 
had flushed now, and her tears fell fast. 

" Come, answer my question ! " said the 
magistrate sharply ; whereat she quietly 
wiped away her tears and replied, — 

" Yes, sir ; I knew young Mr Gregory." 

" Intimately ? I believe he was a lover 
of yours ? " 

" Oh no, no ; not that ! " 

" What ! were you not in the habit of 
meeting him ? " 

" Yes — we — we met once or twice." 

" You were in his company on the night 
of the 16th, I believe?" 

''Yes, sir, I was. I went to tell Mr 
Gregory I could not meet him any more, 
because — " 

" During that meeting, what occurred ? — 
did the prisoner a]_:)pear and remonstrate 
against your conduct ? " 

2o6 My ConnattgJit Cousins. 

"Yes, sir, Michael came up and threw 
off young Mr Gregory, who was dragging 
me away." 

" And there was a struggle between de- 
ceased and the prisoner ? " 

" They had words, sir." 

"And from words they came to blows ? " 

" Yes, sir," replied the girl, trembling 
violently ; " but — it was all my fault ; I 
was to blame ! " 

" Never mind that, but answer me, on 
your oath, did you hear the prisoner 
threaten to take deceased's life ? " 

The girl looked up in terror ; again she 
put her hand to her head as if to collect her 
wandering thoughts. 

'* Oh, sir," she cried piteously, " it was only 
a few words in anger, he meant no harm." 

" Did he, or did he not, use this expres- 
sion, ' Til have his life ? ' " 

" Oh, sir, don't ask me — I — I — don't 

A little more questioning, and Kose 

Afy Co7inatight Cousins. 207 

Merton, half fainting and wholly distracted, 
was forcibly removed from the court. 
Everybody present believed that she had 
wilfully lied to save her lover's life. The 
case was now left in the hands of the jury. 
The magistrate summed up, and the jury 
returned a verdict of " Not Guilty." So 
Michael was set at liberty, though there were 
few in court that day, including the jury 
who refused to convict him, but believed 
that Michael had been very intimately 
mixed up with the murder, if he did not 
actually commit it. 


" It is nearly six years ago now," said 
Kathleen, ''since that night when poor 
Michael Jamieson came back with the taint 
of the jDrison upon him, and yet I re- 
member it as well as if it were yesterday. 
He had always been a favourite in Stor- 
port, and the news of his release excited 

2o8 My Connaught Cousins, 

the people almost to madness : bonfires 
were lit on the hills, and the villagers 
turned out in a perfect crowd to welcome 
him home. Michael himself came back 
quietly enough, with Eose Merton and her 
father — he refused to join in the merry- 
making, but while the shouts of joy were 
ringing through the village, he sat beside 
the fire in James Merton's hut holding 
Kose's hand. The girl was pale and trem- 
bling like a leaf ; she had her head turned 
away from him, and she was crying, — 

"I can't, Michael, I can't," she said; 
" don't ask me to do it — I've brought 
you harm enough, God knows." 

*'Kose, don't say that," returned the 
young fellow earnestly ; " or if you will 
say it — add that, after all the sorrow and 
pain, you mean to give me a little happi- 
ness by becoming my wife ! " 

He drew her towards him and kissed 
her fondly, and she sobbed out her sorrow 
upon his shoulder. 

Aly Connaught Cousins. 209 

"Ah, Michael," she cried, "you forget 
— my — my father ! " 

"No, mavourneen, I don't forget — but 
that makes no difference to me." 

Just a week later, Eose and Michael 
became man and wife ; they were married 
quietly by Father John. Some of the 
girls were in the little chapel to witness 
the ceremony, for Eose had always been 
an immense favourite at the Lodg-e, and 
they would have got up some wedding 
festivities, but Eose said no — she shrank 
from any publicity ; all she wanted, she 
said, was to make Michael happy. So she, 
the prettiest and showiest girl in Storport, 
was disposed of, and everybody thought 
that the tragedy had come to a satisfactory 

As soon as popular excitement had some- 
what subsided, the inhabitants of Storport 
again turned their thoughts to the question 
of landlord and tenant. Everyone looked 
VOL. m. 

2 1 o My Connaitght Cousins, 

for a new landlord in Storport, for at 
the death of young Gregory the estates 
passed into the possession of a distant 
cousin. As soon, therefore, as he chose 
to make his appearance in Storport, Mrs 
Gregory would have to vacate the Castle 
and take up her residence in a little 
white-washed cottage which faced the Stor- 
port high road, and which had been used 
for a similar purpose before. 

The people looked forward to the change 
in anxiety, hoping against hope for better 
times to come. But the news soon spread 
that no change was likely to take place, 
at least for some time. The new land- 
lord was in India — he intended to remain 
there for many months longer, and in the 
meantime he left his aunt in full pos- 
session of the estates. 

If things had been bad under the young 
mans management, they grew infinitely 
worse under the management of his 
mother, for she, believing she had been 

My Connaught Cousins. 2 1 1 

tricked of her vengeance, looked upon, 
each of her miserable tenants as the 
murderer of her son. She stalked over 
the black bogs, with her face set in 
rigid determination. She was for ever 
habited in the deadliest of black ; and 
she wore that sickening spot of red on 
her shoulder. 

Her first act was to evict Michael 
Jamieson ; and he, knowing the terrible 
secret, quietly submitted to his fate. 
He removed to a croft on a neighbouring 
estate ; then she raised the rent of 
every holding, and sent many a man, 
woman, and child, to an early grave. 

It must not be supposed that this 
kind of thino; was allowed to q;o un- 
checked — a species of civil war com- 
menced, with grim determination on either 
side to fight it through. Periodical 
meetino;s were held in Mrs Timlin's 
kitchen — new agents came and went, 
terrified by the threats which rained 

212 My Connaught Cousins, 

around them. At last, Mrs Gregory de- 
termined to face the storm alone. 

It was on the night of the departure 
of the last ag;ent that another meeting 
was held in Mrs Timlin's kitchen, and 
the men, looking into each other s faces, 
asked themselves what they must do. 
They knew that their wives and children 
were starving, and that during the bleak 
winter which was coming on fresh troubles 
were sure to arise. The whole village 
was being sacrificed to gratify the ven- 
geance of one woman. Still, after all, 
they were men, and they hesitated to 
raise their hands. Instead of despatch- 
ing the usual death's head and cross 
bones, they wrote a letter begging for 
mercy, and asking her, for the love of 
God, to remember the fate of her son, who 
when asked for bread, tendered a stone. 

The letter was sent. The next day as 
Kathleen was walking through the village, 
she came upon a group of men who stood 

My Connaugkt Cousins. 2 1 3 

surrounding Mrs Gregory. She held an 
open letter in her hand. 

" You ask me for mercy ! " she said ; 
" and I tell you I will show you just as 
much as you showed when you murdered my 
son. You cowards, perhaps you would like 
to murder me, — if so, you can do so. I'm 
only a defenceless woman, but I defy you." 

Venojeance had come. That same nip-ht a 
terrible scene was enacted in a hut close to 
the spot where Mrs Gregory had stood. 

Ever since the day when the young master 
lost his life James Merton had been a changed 
man. When Eose married, he went to live 
with her, and, in answer to her loving words, 
he promised to try aiid be happy. Yes, to 
please Rose, and in the vain hope of bring- 
ing the old smile to her lips, and the roses 
to her cheeks, he had made the promise ; 
but, for all that, he knew that his days of 
happiness were gone. Whenever he looked 
at Eose, so pale and sad, his breaking heart 

214 ^^^y Connaught Cotisms. 

was almost rent in two, and his sorrow w\a& 
not lessened when he saw that her hus- 
band's hair was prematurely mixed with 
grey. Whenever he walked abroad, his ears 
were filled with the wails of the suffering 
people, — and the sight of the woman, 
black and bloodstained, was for ever before 
his eyes. 

It was a terrible time, and often, as he 
sat alone by the fire, he thought he would 
end it all, but for Eose's sake. Oh, if he 
could only die ! yet, though he prayed and 
prayed, death never came. 

The change in him came so gradually that 
Rose, who nursed and watched him care- 
fully, hardly seemed to note it ; but one 
day she looked in his face and seemed to 
know the truth. 

It was one day when she was sitting at 
home with him alone, for he seldom went 
out now. Kose was sewing, when suddenly 
she felt impelled to look up, and she saw 
that her father was sitting by the fire gazing 

My Connaught Cousins. 215 

at her. All at once the truth seemed to 
dawn upon her; she rose, threw her arms 
about her father's neck, and cried, and 
kissed him. 

" Eose," he said, as he gently stroked her 
hair; ''Yx^o^v^^'nuichree, you mustn't grieve 
— 'twill be better for you — and better for 
me, for I'm just tired out. AVhat's that 
the Bible says, mavourneen — a life for a 

" Oh, father, don't talk like that ! " sobbed 
the poor girl ; *' I — I can't bear it ! " 

She fell on her knees before him, took his 
hands and kissed them, but, with a shudder, 
he pulled them away. 

"Don't, Eose," he cried, "they're covered 
wid blood ! " 

She saw that his eyes were wandering, so 
she put her arms about him, and said, — 

" Father, you're weary ; come with me 
and rest." 

" Eest ! " he repeated, gazing strangely 
into her face ; "I can't rest — for, when I 

2i6 My Connaught Cousins. 

lay me down and shut my eyes, I hear 
them saying I've done a murder, — and then 
he comes, the young master, — and his face 
is all covered wid blood . . . Last night, as 
I was lying in bed, your mother came to 
my bedside ; she was all in shining white, 
and she looked at me and said, 'James, 
James, what have you done ? ' When I 
took her hand, it was all cold and dead, 
and she was crying, — why. Rose, you're 
crying too !" 

" I can't help it. Oh, father ! " 
"Ah, you're thinkin' o' poor Michael — 
ah, yes, now I know — they mean to hang 
him ; but don't grieve. Rosie, you're a good 
girl, and I won't bring trouble to you, — I'll 
see Michael righted before I die." 

He rose from his seat, and, but for Rose, 
he would have fallen to the ground ; she 
pfot him to bed, and he sank down like one 
weary unto death, — for a moment conscious- 
ness returned to him, — he stretched out his 
tremblino; hands, as he said, — 

My Connatight Cousins. 21 J 

" Ah, Eose, 'twas well said, my heart is 
broken ! " 

At six o'clock the next morning, Mrs 
Gregory's servants opened the Castle door, 
and found a man, apparently dead, lying 
across the threshold. 

It was James Merton. 

He had fainted, but was not dead, and, 
on restoratives being applied, he recovered 
consciousness sufficiently to open his eyes 
and ask for Mrs Gregory. The old lady 
was called, and when she came, Merton 
held forth his hands and cried, — 

" Mistress, mistress, pray God to forgive 
me — / killed your son ! " then, with a low 
moan, he sank back and died. 

In his hand they found a paper bearing 
a full confession of the crime. 

Having arrived at this point Kathleen 
paused, as if her tale was done. I asked 
for the rest. 

2i8 My Connaitght Cottsins. 

" There is very little more to tell you, 
Jack,'' she said. " Poor Merton was buried, 
and his confession made public. It sur- 
prised no one. Shortly afterwards, Mr 
O'Neil, the present landlord, came to Stor- 
port, and Mrs Gregory removed from the 
Castle. Though James Merton was dead 
and buried, she never forgave the mur- 
der of her son : it is generally believed 
that she incites every act of cruelty and 
injustice which her nephew commits ; she 
openly defies one ; and all ; she refuses to 
have any protection ; and she puts herself in 
the power of the very people whom she has 
treated like dogs. Yet her very courage 
has commanded their respect and saved her 
life. Even poor Eose Merton, whom she 
continues to persecute cruelly, does not 
w^ish to raise a finger to harm her. Poor 
girl, she has certainly suffered enough. I 
think she was quite right when she said 
that Storport was not big enough to hold 
her as well as Mrs Gregory." 

My Connatight Cotisins. 219 

Kathleen having promised to assist 
Kose, lost no time in keeping her word. 
America was certainly the best place for 
her to 00 to ; so to America she was accord- 
ingly sent. My uncle and I both added to 
Michael's little store of money — while all 
the girls turned out their wardrobes, and 
managed to find innumerable articles which 
were "just the thing" either for Eose or 
her little daughter. So the travellers 
turned their backs upon the sorrow and 
darkness of the old country to look for 
brightness, hope, and comfort in the new. 


OW chilly the weather is grow- 
ing," I murmured, holding 
my trembling hands over the 
blaze which I had made in the grate, and 
shivering again. " I must get that rascal 

" Yer honor," said Shawn, thrusting his 
head in at my sitting-room door. 

^'Well, Shawn?" 

" Would yer honor like to see a funeral ? 
'Tis ould Pat Murphy's, the cobbler, that 
was a hundred years, or thereabouts. He 
died a couple o' days ago, and he's had the 
grandest wake ; for I was there myself, on 
account of the mashter givin' the candles ! " 

My Connmight Cousins. 221 

Here Shawn came to a full stop, gazed 
at me for a few seconds in silence, and then 
repeated his question. 

''Would yer honor like to go? 
'Twill be a grand funeral, I'm tould ; 
and so it ouo^ht indeed : for 'twas time 
the old man went intirely to make room 
for them that's comin' on. 'Tis only 
right that yer honor should go, since 
the whole 0' the counthry mil be there ; 
and though yer honor's often been to a 
wake and a wedding, sure you've never 
been to the graveyard or seen a funeral." 

And Shawn was right ; long as I had 
lived in Connaught — often as I had made 
my appearance at weddings, wakes, or 
fairs, I had never once had the curiosity 
to go over to the graveyard and witness 
the extraordinary process which the in- 
habitants of Connaught employed in com- 
mitting a body to the earth. 

I had seen from afar the small spot 
known as the graveyard — a square of 

222 My Connaught Cousins. 

rugged earth it appeared to me, lying se- 
cluded on the hillside, with the barren 
peaks of the bog mountains above, and 
the sea washing upon the shore a hun- 
dred yards below. I had listened with 
interest to the wild stories and legends 
connected with the spot, which Shawn 
was ever ready to din into my ears, and 
for me that had been enough. When- 
ever I heard that a funeral service was 
to be performed, I religiously kept within 
doors ; or, if I must go out, I deter- 
minedly walked in the opposite direction 
to that in which I knew the corpse must 
be conveyed. So, despite Shawn's press- 
ing invitation to make one of the riotous 
company of that day, I determinedly 
shook my head, and commanded him to 
withdraw. And yet I could not help 
feeling some curiosity about the matter, 
and as the door closed upon the man's 
muscular figure, I strolled over to the 
window and took a peep at the arrange- 

Aly Cojinaiight Cousins. 223 

ments which were f^oinp: forward for the 
day's fun. At the door of old Pat 
Murphy's cabin, which was set on a bog 
by the roadside, several hundred yards 
from the Lodge door, a good crowd was 
gathered, while along the roads, which 
crossed and branched off in every direc- 
tion, little parties of sixes and sevens 
were trudo-incr alono; to minoie with the 
great stream, and increase its dimensions, 
until it seemed to completely surround 
the house. To eyes unaccustomed to 
such siochts it would have seemed that 
the whole of the inhabitants of the vil- 
lage were gathering together to make 
merry at some neighbouring fair ; for 
the women wore their gayest petticoats 
and head-shawls, while some of the men 
disported garments of bright variegated 
hues. On the preceding night a keen 
frost had nipped the land, but as the day 
advanced, the air seemed to grow warmer. 
The sun rays, falling from a chill grey 

224 My Connaught Cousins. 

sky, were melting the ice from both 
causeway and liill ; yet still, upon the 
peaks of the distant mountains, I could 
see the faint glittering of frozen hail. 

'' A capital day for the snipe/' I mur- 
mured again, as I returned to my cozy 
seat by the fire. " The first breath of 
winter seems to put new life into a man. 
I shall do my twenty miles to-day, and 
feel the better for it. On a clear, bright, 
frosty morning, give me the Connaught 

" Ye'd travel a long way to find their 
match, sure enough," put in Shawn, who 
during my soliloquy had entered the room 
unperceived ; " but yer honor would never 
go shporting to-day." 

" And why not ? " 

" Every why, yer honor ; sure ye know 
*tis ould Pat Murj)hy's funeral, and if 
ye don't wish to go to it yerself, 'tis not 
like you to be say in' no to me ! " 

1 was astonished, and I said so, but at 

My Connatight Cousins. 225 

Shawn's next speech my astonishment 

" Sure, I don't care about the funeral 
then, if yer honor would but let me go 
over to see poor ould Pat brought to life 

" What ! " 

" They're lavin' the coflBn-lid off in 
hopes that the priest, God bless him, 
may come in time, and if he does it will 
be all right, for then he can raise up 
Patrick, and give him the unction, that 
his ould body may shleep in peace." 

" ShawD, are you gone mad?" I asked 
at last. 

" Not at all, yer honor ; sure every- 
body knows that he raised up Rose 
Monnaghan, on account 0' her dyin' wid- 
out confession ; and then he got her to 
confess, and she died again quiet and 
aisy, and had a grand wake, and was 
buried dacently ; and when he did it to 
the likes o' her, why can't he do it to 

VOL. III. p 

2 26 My Connmtght Cousins, 

ould Patrick, who died widout confessin', 
on account of his riverence bein' away ? " 

This rigmarole amazed me. I demanded 
a lucid explanation from Shawn, and re- 
ceived only his emphatic assurance, that 
there was " devil a word of lie in it, at 
all, at all." 

"Ask anybody, and ye'll find it's all 
true ; ask his riverence," he said, w^hen 
he suddenly paused, and added, — '' well, 
indeed, maybe his riverence wouldn't own 
to it at all. He said himself 'twas in 
a faint she was, and when he put the 
water on her face, it brought her round 
to spake to them before she died." 

" And between you and me, Shawn, I 
think his riverence was right." 

" Do you, indeed, sor ; well, if you'll 
just shtep over to the graveyard to-day, 
ye'll see ould Pat Murphy brought round, 
if his riverence has a mind to do it." 

" You think I should ? " 

" I'm certain sure of it." 

Aly Connatight Ctmsiiis. 227 

" Very well then, I'll go. I'll just wait 
until the funeral procession has got well 
a-head, and then I will take a short cut 
to the graveyard by myself ! " 

Havingr o-ratified the wish of Shawn's 
heart, and determined to satisfy my own 
curiosity, which I must confess was by 
that time strongly aroused, I walked again 
over to the window, and took another glance 
at the people who were stiU congregating 
about the hut. 

AVhat a crowd it had become ! the house 
was surrounded ; the road was well covered ; 
while still from the hillsides, over bog and 
moor, and alonor the numerous ruoraed roads, 
came straojorlinor fio-ures, some of them foot- 
sore from lonor travellino^, others huddlincr 
their rags about their attenuated frames, 
and shrinking from the chilly touch of the 
air ; but finally all of them became merged 
into the great crowd, as runlets mingle 
in the sea. One or two hours passed and 
I became restless ; the gradual increasing 

2 28 My Connaught Coiisms. 

of the crowd, the protracted delay, stimu- 
lated my morbid curiosity, and I began to 
long for the time to come when this strange 
event was to take place at the grave. Not 
that I altogether believed what Shawn had 
told me, I had heard too many of his legends 
for that ; nor did I for a moment imagine 
that anything extraordinary would happen 
to prevent the interment of the corpse ; but 
I did anticipate a peculiar sight, and as 
I had determined to witness it, the delay 
in doino; so annoved me. But the in- 
liabitants of Storport were not accustomed 
to quick movements. Slowly the great 
crowd increased until the road was com- 
pletely blocked, and the mingled voices 
of the people reached my ears as I stood at 
the open window of my room, It certainly 
was going to be " a grand funeral." Men and 
women, boys and girls, of all ages, sizes, 
and degrees, and from all parts of the coun- 
try around, were by that time gathered 
together. Some of them carried jars under 

My Connaught Cousins. 229 

their arms ; others drinking-vessels ; while, 
to my amazement, others had got creels of 
turf upon their backs, as if that too was 
meant as a contribution to the ceremony 
of the day. At length the crowd made a 
swaying movement, and then began to 
move in one long, straggling mass up from 
the cabin. I looked searchingiy along the 
lines of grotesque figures, and at length per- 
ceived the coffin, a box of white deal, stand- 
ing in the middle of a sheet, the ends of 
which were carelessly held by two men. The 
crowd moved so quickly, and the road w^as so 
rugged to tread, that the coffin was jolted 
and swung in such a violent manner as to 
cause the loose lid to fall once or twice 
almost to the ground ; but the carpenter who 
made the coffin, and now walked beside it, 
carrying in his hand the hammer and nails 
which would be necessary for the com- 
pletion of his work, lifted from the road 
a heavy stone and placed it on the coffiu- 
lidto keep it in its place. Again I turucil 

230 My Co7inaught Cousins, 

from the window, and crossing over to the 

hearth stood with ray back to the fire. 

That it would be useless for me to attempt 

to leave the house for several hours I knew, 

since the funeral party had to cross the 

estuary and there was only one boat to 

take the whole lot. It would occupy fully 

two hours, I reflected, plying backwards 

and forwards, to convey across the living and 

the dead. So having given Shawn leave to 

depart at once, and having had something to 

eat, I took up a book to pass the time away. 

How long I read I don't know, I only 

remember coming to myself with a start 

and leaping confusedly to my feet, to find 

the fire low in the grate, the day waning, 

and the air bitterly cold. I opened the 

window and looked out ; there was no living 

soul abroad. The waning light of the sky 

fell upon the village, lying chill and silent, 

with the black bogs stretching ominously 

around, but in the air there was the faint echo 

of a wild moaning and shrieking which was 

My Connaught Cousins. 231 

wafted to me by the breath of the sea, and 
which I knew must come from the graveyard. 

I hurrriedly buttoned on my coat, and 
left the house. 

The evening air was bitter ; thick sheets 
of ice covered the causeway, and even the 
brown bogs were hard and easy to tread. I 
made my way quickly ; in half an hour I 
had crossed the ferry, plodded over the sands, 
and stood upon the brow of a hill looking 
down upon the graveyard. But could it 
be a graveyard ? It was more like a 
scene from the Inferno. Half-a-dozen fires 
blazed up, illuminating hundreds of recum- 
bent figures. Stone jars were tossed about ; 
drinking vessels scattered here and there ; 
empty creels overturned beside small mounds 
of turf. Some three or four men, with bare 
heads and arms, worked diligently at a 
hole with pick and spade ; others sat 
smoking beside the fires ; others had picked 
out from the confused mass of stones some 
well-known grave, and stood by it, drinking 

232 Aly Connaught Cousins. 

and shouting between whiles ; while in the 
midst of all this stood the coffin, lidless, 
with the ashen face of the corpse turned 
blankly to the sky. With a shrug of the 
shoulders, I descended the hill and entered 
the graveyard, the better to view what was 
being done. No sooner, however, had my 
feet touched the sacred ground than a sick- 
ening odour, which seemed to permeate the 
whole air, met my nostrils, and made me 
pause. Faugh ! it was like a charnel-house. 
I turned my lace to the sea, which washed 
upon the sands, a few hundred yards below 
me, and its fresh, invigorating breath swept 
away the pestilence which seemed to rise 
like vapour from the earth. I stepped 
forward, and, glancing keenly around, took 
in the whole situation. A nearer view 
showed me what I had not seen before. 
Several figures lying prone amidst the 
scattered debris of rocks and stones, snoring 
in a heavy, drunken sleep ; others, perched 
upon the graves, sat drinking and disputing, 

My Connaught Cousins. 233 

and in their wild excitement almost coming 
to blows. Close to the grave which was 
being newly made, a woman sat crying over 
the skull of an infant, which she had buried 
years before, and w^hich had been thrown 
out of the earth by the pickaxe, now busily 
at work again ; while the shrieks and moans 
which were given forth on every side 
drowned the sound even of the washing of 
the sea. While notins; all this I had been 
diligently making my way towards the spot 
w^here the coffin stood, when suddenly my 
foot caught against some invisible object, 
and I fell. Again came that sickening odour 
which had at first offended my nostrils, but 
this time it was so strong and so offensive 
that it almost made me faint. I scrambled to 
my feet, joined the group around the nearest 
fire, and having partaken of the whisky which 
was so liberally handed round, I returned to 
the spot where I had fallen, determined to 
examine the ground and discover, if possible, 
the cause of the sickening smell. I had 

234 ^y Connatight Cousins. 

fallen across a square pile of stones, which 
was raised some two or three inches above 
the ground. By the waning light of the 
sky I could see no more, but having pos- 
sessed myself of a torch, and looked again, 
I opened my eyes in amazement, for the 
stones covered a coffin, the other half of 
which was thrust into the ground. The 
coffin was rotting, the seams yawning, and 
down its sides was running a greenish 
matter, the odour from which had met 
my nostrils, and was now poisoning 
the whole air. With a shudder I turned 
away, and, taking my torch in my hand, 
examined several other graves, some of 
which I found in the same condition ; 
others, if possible, a little worse. I had 
examined the fourth grave when I was 
suddenly joined by Shawn, who had been 
carousing at the other end of the grave- 
yard, and who now came up to express 
his joy at seeing me there. 

" Shawn," I said, pointing to the graves, 

My Connaught Cousins. 235 

" what on earth induces your people to 
bury the dead like that ? " 

" Like what, yer honor ? 

" Why, with one-half of the coffin in 
the ground, the other half left uncovered 
to create a pestilence in the place ? " 

"Is it the shtones yer honor manes ? 
Wei], well, that's a funny way to spake 
o' them. Sure, there isn't enough room 
for the whole o' them ; the graves is 
choked full already, and some o' them, 
like Pat Murphy, must make do wid 
a little bit o' room." 

" But think of the consequences of that ; 
the odour which comes from the graves 
is enough to breed a fever." 

" The smell is it ? Sure, that comes from 
the grass, yer honor ; 'tis a queer grass 
that grows here, and they're sayin' it has 
a queer charm about it. Och, murder ! " 
he suddenly screamed, " boys, boys, here 
comes the soggarth ! '" 

The effect was miraculous : in a moment 

236 iMy Connaught Cousins, 

the whole party rose shrieking and 
moaning, to their feet, and congregated 
in a wild crowd around the coffin, 
w^hicli still stood open upon the ground. 
Some bore in their hands flaming torches, 
which lit up the faces of the crowd, 
and the now fast darkening sky. By 
their light I could see the priest walk- 
ing with long strides towards the newly- 
made grave. As he came nearer, the 
whole crowd uttered a wild shriek, and 
fell upon their knees. 

" Yer riVrence, raise up ould Patrick ; 
he died widout confessin', on account o' 
yer riv'rence bein' away, and his soul, 
God bless it, will nivir risht in peace." 

Without a word, the priest walked 
quietly up to the coffin and blessed the 
dead body ; then he moved to the open 
grave and blessed the soil ; then he 
spoke quietly to the people. 

" 'Tis not in the power of mortal man 
to raise up the dead," he said ; " that 

Afy Connaiight Coiisins. 237 

belongs only to Almighty God. Cormic, 
screw the lid on to the coffin, make haste 
to bury the dead, and do not disgrace 
the sacredness of the occasion by drunken- 
ness and riot. Good-night, my dear people, 
may God bless your work ! " 

Having spoken thus, he mingled with the 
crowd, and quickly disappeared. 

For a time the whole crowd stood 
petrified ; then the carpenter stepped 
slowly forw^ard, and began to screw the 
lid on to the coffin, and the whole of 
the company began moaning and yelling, 
while the body was finally consigned to 
the earth. I took a seat uj)on the 
hillside, and waited till the work was 
over and most of the mourners had 
gone away, then I too arose, and took 
my departure. It was growing towards 
ten o'clock — the sky was studded with 
stars, and the moon, full and bricrht, 
poured her rays upon the earth — she 
lit up the graveyard, the withered grass 

238 My Connaught Cousins. 

and stones, the grey embers of the dead 
fires, the broken jars and the drinking 
vessels, the black figures, coiled snake- 
like upon the ground in a heavy, drunken 
slumber, while from the recesses of the 
black hills around came the faint echo 
of riotous voices, which proceeded from 
the drunken revellers who were making 
their way home. I turned to my com- 
panion, who stood beside me, silent and 

" Well, Shawn, was I not right ? Had 
the priest the power to raise up old 
Murphy ? " 

" Troth, he had thin, if he had the 
wish to do it," said Shawn doggedly ; 
and I saw that if I argued till the 
sun rose, I should not convince him of 
his folly in so believing ; so I nodded 
" good - night," and walked in silence 
towards the Lodge. 


HEN I passed through the vil- 
lage that night, I suspected 
there must be something wrong. 
I saw dark shapes flitting hither and thither 
like spirit forms, while my ears seemed to 
detect strange sounds of wailing sorrow. 
I stood and listened and looked about 
but seeincr no one whom 1 could 


question, I decided that the mystery must 
be connected with the proceedings of 
the day, and feeling tolerably well satisfied 
with the explanation, I walked on towards 

Here a new surjDrise awaited me. On 

240 My Connattght Cousi7is. 

opening the door, and stepping into the 
hall, I was met by Oona, pale as a 
ghost, and trembling violently. 

" Oh, Jack ! " she cried, " do yon think 
it is true ? " 

She took my arm, and drew me into 
the dining-room ; where I found Biddy 
and Amy, looking pale and frightened 
too. Then I saw that Oona had been 

" Oh, Jack," she sobbed, as I put my 
arm about her, and laid her head upon 
my shoulder, " have you heard ? do you 
know — but it's too dreadful — it caiPbt be 
true ! " 

Thoroughly mystified by this time, I did 
my best to compose the girls ; then, in 
answer to my inquiry, Oona told me 
that Conolly had been killed. 

" Killed ! " I exclaimed. 

" I think so, Jack," said Oona ; " they say 
he was shot on the Gulranny road this even- 
ing. Papa, Aileen, and Nora have ridden 

My Coimaught Coicsins. 241 

ojff to the spot where they say he fell, and 
Kate started ten minutes a2[o to see if she 
could learn anything about it at the barrack." 

The news coming thus suddenly upon 
me gave me a shock ; but a moment's re- 
flection served partly to dispel my fear. I 
remembered Conolly's former escapades, and 

'* Don't excite yourselves," I said, as the 
frightened girls clustered about me ; " de- 
pend upon it that whoever is killed Mr 
Conolly is safe." 

But speak as I would, laugh as I might, 
I was utterly unable to dispel the awful 
depression which had fallen upon the 
Lodge. We clustered close together, and 
sat down by the fire to await the return of 
my uncle and the girls ; and, in answer to 
my questions, Oona told me the little that 
she knew. 

" We were just going to have our tea," 
she said, " and were all together in the 
dining-room, when Shawn rushed in, as 


242 My Connaught Cousins. 

white as death, and told us that Mr O'Neil 
was shot. Well, we were all fearfully ex- 
cited, and papa and Kate were starting for 
the Castle, when what should we see but 
Mr O'Neil's car, with Mr O'Niel on it, dash 
furiously past. For a while after that we 
could learn nothing — the whole village 
seemed to be in commotion — people were 
gliding about like ghosts. Papa was on 
the point of starting for the barrack, when 
'' Michael, the ferry," came up and told us 
that as Mr O'Neil had been driving along 
the Gulranny road he had been shot at by 
some one hidden in a ditch — that he had 
fired back at a man whom he saw running 
away, and that the man fell dead ! " 

'' The man was ConoUy ? " 

" Yes, Jack, Conolly ! " 

Still, I could not believe it ; so I sug- 
gested that before accepting the gloomiest 
side of the picture, we should wait for Kath- 
leen's news. 

So we clustered together round the din- 

My Connaught Cousins. 243 

ing-room hearth ; and, for the first time 
since my arrival in Storport, I felt that I 
was really among the landlord shooters. 
We sat like ghosts in the firelight — saying 
little, listening for Kate's footfall, but hear- 
ing only the loud ticking of the clock. 
Half-an-hour — an hour passed, and Kath- 
leen did not return. We all grew restless, 
and Oona suQ:2:ested that I should walk 
down to the barrack and meet Kate. At 
first I refused, being loath to leave the 
three girls alone, — but presently my curi- 
osity overcame me ; I yielded, and after a 
secret but anxious embrace from Oona in 
the hall, I set out. 

It was a dark, cold, gloomy night ; 
scarcely any soul seemed to be abroad ; but 
again I fancied I heard about me a mixture 
of mysterious sounds. Having reached the 
hio-h road, I was conscious of fio;ures moving 
about me like ghosts in the darkness, but 
instead of pausing to inquire the news, I 
made straight for the barrack. Here 1 

244 My Connaught Cousins. 

found a little more life — the barrack was 
lit up — two policemen, well armed, were on 
guard — while around the building lingered 
several figures, quite indistinguishable in 
the darkness. On mentioning my name, 
and asking for Kathleen, I was at once 
admitted, and came face to face with 
my cousin, who was talking to some 
policemen in the hall. Kathleen looked 
Tery pale, her eyes were wet, and when 
I took her hand, I felt that it was cold 
as ice. 

"Is it true, Kate ? " I asked, for want 
of something else to say. 

" Quite true," returned Kate tremulously ; 
" poor Conolly ! " and she hid her face for a 
moment, and sobbed. 

"Where is he?" 

" He is here — he was carried straight 
here, and will remain till after the inquest 

" I should like to see him." 

"Very well," said Kate, "you can see 

My Connatight Coitsins, 245 

him if you like, Jack ; but I think I'll 
wait for you here. I have had one glimpse 
of him, and it has unnerved me terribly. 
I couldn't stand it again." 

Kathleen was certainly terribly imnerved ; 
seeing this, I offered to take her home at 
once, but as I had expressed a wish to see 
Conolly, she insisted on my doing so. One 
of the policemen offered to escort me, so, 
with a strange sense of sickness upon me, 
I walked away. 

We passed along a bare, dimly-lighted 
passage, and entered a room. The room 
was in darkness, but upon my guide ad- 
vancing a few steps, and holding up the 
candle which he carried, I saw before me 
the prostrate figure of a man. He lay 
upon a wooden stretcher in the middle of 
the room. The sight was so ghastly that 
for a moment my courage seemed to be 
failing me. At one glance I had recognised 
Conolly, changed as he was. He was com- 
pletely dressed, but his ragged clothes 

246 My Co7inaught Cousins, 

were soaked with bogmire and bespattered 
with blood — his face had been wiped, but 
some of the black which he had used as a 
mask still clung to his cheeks and mouth ; 
his pale blue eyes were open, and his 
teeth were set as if with intense pain. 
I gazed for a moment, then with a sigh 
I turned away. 

On my return to the hall, Kathleen and 
I set out at once — both I fancy, feeling 
rather glad to be away from the place 
where poor murdered ConoUy lay. 

** I suppose, Kate," I said, as soon 
as we found ourselves alone, " Mr O'Neil 
has committed this murder ? " 

" No," returned Kate ; '' not Mr O'Neil, 
but a young Englishman, a friend of his, 
who was visiting; the Castle, and who 
happened to be on the car." 

''Then it was Mr O'Neil who was 
fired at?" 

" Yes. He received the usual notice 
it seems, several weeks ago, and conse- 

My Connaught Cousins. 247 

quently avoided the Gulranny road until 
to-day, when he believed the storm had 
passed. The young stranger had been 
seal shooting in Gulranny bay, and know- 
ing the state of the country, he kept 
his rifle loaded on the way home. When 
the shots were fired, the horse bolted, 
and, if Mr Gregory had been alone as 
usual, nothing more would have been 
known of the afiair ; but his friend, who 
is a mere boy, got excited, jumped off 
the car, ran back to the spot, and shot 
Conolly through the heart as he was 
trying to make his escape." 

" Was he alone ? " 

" No ; there were two with him, I 
believe — the police fired on them, but 
they escaped." 

By this time we reached the Lodge, 
and found the dining-room occupied by 
an excited group. My uncle, Nora, 
and Aileen, who had returned, looking 
weary and pained, still wore their riding 


248 My Connatight Cousins. 

dresses ; so did Achill Murry, and yoimg^ 
Bingley ; while Father John, and Dr Ma- 
guire, were bespattered with mud with hard 
walking. Most of them were drinking the 
grog, of which they seemed sorely in need 
— while they were discussing, in eager 
whispers, the horrible events of the day. 

*' Kate," said my uncle, when we ap- 
peared, " can you put us all up for 
the night ? We re summoned, all but 
his reverence, on the coroners jury to- 
morrow, and 'tis late for his reverence 
and the doctor to be walking home. 

I saw a terribly anxious look come into 
Kate's eyes as she said, putting her hand 
on his shoulder, — 

'' Then ijou are summoned too, papa ? " 

" Sure enough, mavourneen; they've taken 
the young Englishman prisoner, and we're to 
say to-morrow whether he's to be tried for 
manslaughter or set free." 

" And which of the two do ye mane to 
do, Mr Kenmare ? " asked the doctor. 

My Connaught Cousins, 249 

^' What can we do, doctor ? After all, 
the young fellow can't be blamed, for he 
did it in self-defence. Poor, poor Conolly ! 
he was always weak and easily led, and 
don't I know he's not to blame either. 
The villain that set the whole thing 
going, and deserves the punishment, is 
talking it over at this moment by his 
own fireside." 

For a moment there was silence. I 
saw Kathleen quietly close and fasten the 
shutters, a thing I had never known her 
do before. Then she left the room to see 
about accommodating her visitors for the 
night. The silence was at length broken 
by Father John. 

" And so you really think, Mr Kenmare," 
said he, " that Mr Conolly never fired that 
shot ? " 

My uncle sighed. 

" Not at all. Father John," said he. " I'm 
certain sure the poor fellow did fire it, 
and if he hadn't been shot dead, I believe 

250 My Connaught Cottsins, 

he'd have fired another. The second barrel 
of the gun he used is loaded almost to the 
muzzle, and even now the forefinger of 
his right hand is bent, which shows that 
he died as he was about to pull the 

While the conversation was general, L 
who realty knew little or nothing of the 
subject, held my peace ; but after most of 
the company had retired for the night, and 
only four of us, my uncle, Kathleen, Oona 
and myself were left alone, I asked an 
explanation of my uncle's words. 

" Who do you think," I said, " is at the 
bottom of this afiair ? " 

Before replying, my uncle looked cauti- 
ously round the room, opened the door 
suddenly, shut it again, then returned to 
his seat. 

*' Jack, my boy," he said, speaking very 
low, "there isn't a man in Storport but 
knows who's at the bottom of it, includ- 
ing Father John himself. Listen ; there's 

My Connaught Cousins, 251 

one, a Mr Timlin — brother-in-law to Mrs 
Timlin, and therefore a kind of relation 
to Conolly, who lives in Gulranny. He 
is a well-to-do farmer. For years he has 
rented a rabbit warren, which lies close 
to his farm. A few weeks ago O'Neil took 
the warren from him, and shortly afterwards 
received sentence of death. It was this 
man's gun which was found by ConoUy's 
side, and it was this very man who, a few 
minutes after the skirmish to-day, galloped 
into Gulranny and said that O'Xeil was 
killed ! He's a dirty, low blackguard, that 
fears the gallows ! He wanted O'Neil 
put out of the way, and he couldn't find 
a better man than Conolly to do it ; so he 
supplied him with a gun, and plenty of 
whisky, and galloped home with the news, 
in order to clear himself." 

" You think that ? " 

" I'm certain of it ! " 

" And you could swear to the gun ? " 

" Among a hundred ! " 

252 My Connaught Cousins. 

" Then if that's the case, it's a pity 
the man can't be punished." 

" Do you think so ? " 

'-' Don't you ? " 

My uncle shook his head. 

" We couldn't bring poor Conolly back 
any way," he said, " so 'tis better to let 
it rest." 

All that night I scarcely slept ; at seven 
o'clock in the morning I was out of the 
house, walking with Oona, whom I found 
restlessly pacing the gravel before the 
hall-door. I took her hand upon my 
arm, and we walked through the village 
together. Although it was so early, every- 
body seemed to be astir, and every- 
where along the road small groups of 
men and women gathered talking eagerly, 
while the barrack was besieged by a 
regular crowd ; the cold feeling of death 
seemed to have got in the air, and every- 
body was changed ; the people scarcely 
looked at us at all ; when they did, it 

My Connatcght Cousins. 253 

was with a sullen, sinister look of mingled 
fear and dislike. I fancy Oona noticed 
this, and understood it far better than 
I, for she clung in a half- frightened 
w^ay to my arm as if to protect me. 

We had finished our walk and were 
on our way back to the Lodge, when 
in passing the barrack gate we suddenly 
came face to face with Mrs Timlin. She 
looked angry and excited ; she stopped 
directly before Oona, and exclaimed, — 

" The dirty black-hearted rogues. Do 
ye know what they've done. Miss Oona? 
Afther murthering poor Conolly, they've 
taken Toney Timlin and locked him up 
in the barrack ! " 

" What for ? " asked Oona ; " what do 
they say he has done, Mrs Timlin ? " 

After a defiant stare at me, Mrs Timlin 
replied, — 

" They say he was in wid Conolly in 
his plans to shoot the mashter — bad cess 
to him ! but sure they'll have to prove 

2 54 ^y Con7iaught Cousins. 

it ; and there isn't a soul in Storport 
would swear away the life of an inno- 
cent boy." 

Oona uttered a few sympathetic words, 
and we passed on. 

At breakfast that morning all the con- 
versation turned upon the one absorbing 
theme. I told of the interview we had 
had with Mrs Timlin, and of the news she 
gave ; and I fancied my uncle looked 
troubled. Again I felt mystified ; I had 
imagined that the police had acted wisely 
in taking the real offender into custody : — 
one glance around the table showed me 
that in this opinion I stood completely 

The inquest was to be held early ; — 
as soon, therefore, as breakfast was over, 
those who had been summoned started 
off. I remained behind for a while to 
brighten up the spirits of the girls, but 
I found it a hopeless business. All their 
old liveliness had departed, — and the very 

My Connaught Coicsins. 255 

Lodge itself seemed to have been trans- 
formed into the dreariness of a tomb. 
Finding myself of so little use to the girls, 
I at length turned my thoughts to myself, 
remembered the letters which I had received 
by post that morning, and instinctively 
looked around for Oona. She was nowhere 
to be seen. I went up to her room, quietly 
opened the door, and there I found her 
sitting by her writing-desk with her 
face buried in her hands. I fancy 
she heard me enter, but she did not 
move. I went over, put my arms 
around her, and laid her pretty head 
on my shoulder. 

" Oona, my pet, why are you crying ? " 
" I — I didn't mean to cry, " sobbed 
Oona, as she hid her face on my shoulder, 
" but I went down to see him, and it 
nearly broke my heart . . . Oh, Jack, it is 
terrible ! " 

I held her closely to me, and let her 
cry a little ; while my body trembled 

256 My Connaught Cousins, 

through and through as her soft hands 
clung to mine ; then I said tenderly, — 

*' Oona, I want to talk to you about 
myself to-day." 

" Yes, Jack." 

" I got letters this morning which 
demand my return to town." 

I felt Oona start, and I fancied she 
crept a little bit closer to me ; but she 
said nothing. 

" I have had a very pleasant holiday," 
I continued, ** thanks to my Connaught 
Cousins. I ought to be satisfied, but I 
find I'm not ; when I read those letters 
this morning, I felt as if they had brought 
me sentence of death ! Oona, my darling, 
I love you ! " 

This time Oona raised her head. 

" Then you will come back ? " she said. 
" Oh, Jack, if you love me you will not 
leave me long." 

"That shall be as you wish, my pet. 
But think well, Oona. Could you bear 

My Connaught Cousins. 


to leave Storport, your friends, your horses, 
your hammock, your dreams, for me ? " 

" No," said Oona, smiling a little 
through her tears, " I shall not leave 
them, Jack. We will always come back 
to dear old Ireland once a year, and 
I will bring my dreams to London 
with me to brighten up your rooms 
if I can. Dear Jack, I will try to be 
very good to you ; only I feel it is 
sinful to feel so happy when I think of 
poor ConoUy." 

When the luncheon bell sounded, Oona 
and I were still sitting by the window^ 
dreaming. We descended the stairs to- 
gether, and found a large company await- 
ing us in the dining-room. There was 
my uncle, and Father John, Dr Maguire, 
Murry, and young Bingiey, besides the 
clergyman, and one or two other gentle- 
men, who were strangers to me. I asked 
what they had done. 


258 My Connaught Cousins. 

" It's all over, Jack," returned my 
uncle. *' Of course we've acquitted the 
young Englishman, but I believe Mr 
Toney Timlin is to be tried at Gulranny 


OW the next few days passed I 
scarcely know. For two even- 
ings I accompanied some of 
the ^irls to ]\Irs Timlin's kitchen, and we 



the crowd which had 

collected together to do the last honours to 
Conolly. On the morning of the third 
day it seemed to me that the whole of 
the village had turned out to see the 
poor fellow laid in his grave. It had been 
a grand wake, and it was a grand funeral, 
but I for one was glad when it was over, 
thinking that at length popular excite- 
ment would die away. But I was wrong. 
When we got home from the funeral, my 

26o My Connaught Cousins. 

uncle's expressive face showed me that 
something was wrong. I soon found what 
it was. Some words of his had got abroad, 
and he had been summoned as a witness 
against Toney Timlin at Gulranny court. 

" I've to go in to-morrow, Jack," said my 
uncle, " so if you want to see the clearing 
up of this affair, you had better come . . . 
Shawn, you rascal," he added, " have Lucy 
and Jack saddled by nine in the morning, 
and see they're in condition for a gallop." 

Punctually at nine in the morning the 
horses were at the Lodge door, and I, after 
having; taken an affectionate farewell of 
Oona, mounted Jack, and, accompanied by 
my uncle, galloped off along the Gulranny 
road. I was in excellent spirits, and anxious 
to reach the scene of action, for in truth I 
was eager to avenge poor ConoUy's death. 

*' At last," I said to myself, " the real 
offender will be punished, and poor Con- 
oUy's death avenged." 

On our arrival, we found the court 

My Connaught Cousins. 261 

crammed to suffocation, and Toney Timlin, 
the lowest looking blackguard I had ever 
set eyes on — had already taken his place in 
the dock. My uncle, being a witness, was 
sent to the waiting-room, but I was per- 
mitted to take my seat in the body of 
the court. I watched the proceedings with 
interest ; I saw the witnesses enter the 
box, and perjure themselves deliberately : 
then came my uncle's turn, and I sighed 
relieved, thinking, "at last the truth will 
be spoken, and a death-blow will be given 
to all that has gone before." 

My uncle seemed scarcely himself — a fact 
which somewhat amazed me, since I knew 
that his evidence, though of great import- 
ance, was of the most straightforward 
kind. He was certainly not easy in his 
mind ; he answered the first few questions 
honestly enough ; then the gun, the very 
one which poor Conolly had used, was put 
into his hand. 

" Have you ever seen that gun before ? " 

262 My Connaught Coust7is. 

My uncle nodded. 

" I have." 


" Three days ago, at Storport barrack." 

" Was that the first time you saw it ? " 

'' I don't know." 

" You know the prisoner ? " 

"I do." 

" Have you ever seen him with a gun ? " 

"I have." 

" With this gun ? " 

Again my uncle shook his head. 

'' I don't know." 

*'Doyou mean to assert, on your oath, 
Mr Kenmare, that this gun is not the 
property of the prisoner at the bar ? " 

"No; neither do I assert that it is — 
guns are so much alike, I wouldn't swear 
either one way or the other." 

So the evidence closed, and that very day I 
saw the prisoner walk out of court a free man. 

" Come Jack, my boy," said my uncle, 
taking my arm and leading me through 

My Connaught Cousins. 263 

the crowd to the place where our horses 
awaited us. " We promised the girls to 
get back early ; so prepare yourself for a 
good gallop home." 

I mounted my horse in silence ; in silence 
too we galloped fully two miles along the 
road ; then we pulled up our horses a bit, 
and I asked my uncle why he refused to 
swear to the gun. 

"■ You could have got that black-looking 
villain out of the way for some time to 

"Sure, don't I know it, Jack, and 
there isn't a boy in Storport deserves it 

" Then why, in heaven's name, didn't 
you do it ? " 

He gave that cautious look about him, 
and sunk his voice to a whisper before 
he replied. 

'' The word they wanted me to speak 
would have been my own death-warrant ! " 

" Good God ! " I exclaimed ;." they would 

264 My Connaught Cousins. 

never dare harm you ! — you must be mis- 
taken ; I can't believe it ! '' 

He quietly put his hand in his pocket 
and drew forth a piece of paper. 

" That doesn't look very important, does 
it, Jack?" said he; '*but when I received 
it last night I knew that if I spoke the 
word that sent Mr Timlin to gaol to-day, 
you would most likely return to the Lodge 
to-night carrying my dead body along with 
you. Well, I daresay you think I'm a 
bit of a coward, Jack ; perhaps I am, for 
the receipt of that paper unhinged me. 
If I had only had myself to think of, I 
should have spoken out bold, and defied 
them all, but I remembered my girls at 
home. I pictured to myself what they 
would feel, sitting together round the dead 
body of their old father, and, for the life 
of me, I couldn't speak ! " 

At this I could say nothing — I was 
thinking of Oona. 

My Co7inatight Cousins. 265 

Eight o'clock : dinner was over, and 
we were all collected in the cozy draw- 
ing-room of the Lodge. The girls seemed 
a little dull, and even my uncle's jolly 
face was somewhat overcast. It w^as the 
last evening of my stay in Storport. Yes, 
my visit had in truth come to an end ; 
my packages were all done up — most of my 
farewells had been said ; and at nine o'clock 
in the morning, I should mount the car 
which was destined to bear me away. 

It was a cold winter night ; outside 
the snow was falling heavily, but all was 
cozy comfort within. The girls had 
donned their brightest costumes, though 
they could not don their brightest faces, 
and one and all seemed to take intense 
delight in calliDg me " brother " Jack ! 
In sooth, they hung about me, and so 
liberally supplied me with kisses that I 
was obliged, in sheer self-defence, to seek 
protection from Oona. . . . She was 
sitting in a corner of the room, busily 

VOL. III. s 

266 My Connaught Cousins, 

at work tying up a package whicli was 
evidently intended for me. When I 
went to her, she looked up, half-shyly, 
half-pleased, and said, — 

" There, Jack, they are quite ready." 

" What are they, dear ? " 

Oona frowned. 

** Forgetful boy ! — as if you didn't know. 
They are my manuscripts — you are to 
get me a publisher for them — " 

" Of course — I haven't forgotten — but, 
Oona, I don't mean to have them pub- 
lished until — " 

'' Until—" 

" Well, until you can put some other name 
upon the fly-leaf than Oona Kenmare ! " 

Not soon shall I forget the parting 
at the door next morning ; with my 
uncle's kindl}^ face beaming upon me, 
and the girls clinging around me. At 
last, with a hug all round, and one 
special embrace to Oona, I was off". The 

My Connaicght Cousins. 267 

car dashed down the avenue, and out 
on to the lonely road. Looking back- 
ward I saw the villao^e, w^here I had 
known so much kindness, and seen so 
much sorrow\ On the roadside, Shawn, 
his father, and all his sisters and 
brothers, were waiting wdth many more 
to bid me " good - bye." Poor Irish 
souls ! As I looked into their wild faces, 
and pressed their hands, I thought of 
their many virtues, their simple affections, 
their deep and cruel wrongs (for wronged 
the Irish have been, God knows !), and I 
said to myself, with one whose soul was 
large with human kindness, though he fell 
upon a stormy time, " God bless Ireland ! " 

As the car paused on the summit of 
the hill, I saw my uncle and the girls at 
the Lodge gate, watching me go — and, 
standing up with a full heart, I waved 
" good-bye " to my ** Connaught Cousins." 





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